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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4829
Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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I was told two weeks ago by my apartment complex that my lease

Customer Question

I was told two weeks ago by my apartment complex that my lease would not be renewed after eight years. When I asked them why, they said they didn't have to tell me why. When I asked about a smaller apartment, they said they were not going to rent to me any longer and again they didn't have to tell me why. I am a 71-year-old woman employed as a Certified Electronic Court Reporter, I am quiet and never cause any problems. People in the office had lied to me several weeks prior about my lease being renewed. In the meantime, two other women were discriminated against. A friend called the office and asked about vacancies. She told them she was retired and single, and they said they had no vacancies. This is NOT true. There is no question discrimination is afoot. The management company has an army of vicious attorneys that do nothing but evictions and that is a losing battle. I would like to sue the women in the office for defamation of character. Is this possible? Unfortunately, they are being protected by saying they don't have to tell you when they are in fact being discriminatory. It's just not fair. This is causing me loss of work, personal belongings, anxiety, stress and a feeling of despair. They shouldn't be able to do this. I am in Washington State.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 2 years ago.
Hello. I'll be happy to assist you.
I'm very sorry to hear about this situation. I'll do what I can to help.
First off, there is no defamation case here. In order to make a defamation case, you must prove that they made some false statement about you that caused you some harm. Here, they are doing the opposite - they aren't saying anything and just not renewing your lease. As such, you don't have a defamatory statement. That said, defamation is not your only avenue. It is illegal to discrimiate against someone when it comes to a housing application if they fall into some protected class. This is the Fair Housing Act, which you can read about more here: Under the FHA, the protected classes are race, color, national origin, religion or gender. If they are refusing to rent to someone based on one of those grounds, you may bring suit (note: they MAY discriminate based on age). Keep in mind that they don't have to admit one of those is the reason for refusing to rent to you, so long as you can prove that is the actual reason. This can be done through an analysis of their leasing applications, and who gets greanted and who gets denied. You can get access to all of that if you file suit. Of course, just the prospect of litigation may be enough for them to renew your lease.
I hope that answers your question. If not, feel free to ask follow up questions. If so, please remember to "Rate" my answer before you go. Good luck.