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Gibsonton HOA accused of violating Fair Housing Act

RIVERVIEW — A Gibsonton homeowners association and its former property manager are charged with violating the federal Fair Housing Act after they threatened to evict a family of eight because there were too many people living in the house, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In 2006, the Townhomes of Kings Lake Homeowners Association and the Vanguard Management Group informed renters Kim Konash and her husband they were not in compliance with the neighborhood's occupancy policy, according to a federal document detailing the charge.

The policy restricted the number of people living in a four-bedroom household to six.

With six children, the couple was told to move out or face eviction in 30 days, the document says.

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against renters on the basis of age, sex, color, disability, national origin, religion or family status, according to HUD.

A HUD investigation found that Hillsborough County homes of a similar size are allowed by ordinance to have up to 11 occupants.

Being overly restrictive on the number of people allowed in a household discriminates against large families, said HUD spokeswoman Shantae Goodloe.

If a federal judge finds discrimination did occur, the homeowners association and the Vanguard Management Group could face up to $16,000 in fines plus damages, Goodloe said.

When reached Tuesday, Janet Moyer, the CEO of Vanguard, declined to comment.

A representative for the homeowners association could not be reached.

Konash said the threat of eviction did not materialize until the family had lived in the home for months.

The trouble began, she said, after the family received a complaint from the homeowners association about the unruly behavior of their children.

According to the federal document, the homeowners association was unable to substantiate those assertions.

"Then shortly after that, we got a notice that we were in violation of HOA rules that limited the number of people," she said. "That's discriminatory."

Konash, who now has seven children and is divorced, said she has not had custody of her six youngest children for the past two years due to a separate incident involving the Department of Children and Families.

While the HUD investigation was under way, the homeowners association agreed not to evict the family.

The family stayed through the end of the one-year lease before moving.

According to the federal document, the homeowners association published a neighborhood newsletter in 2010 reaffirming the same occupancy restricting policy was still in place.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2442.

Gibsonton HOA accused of violating Fair Housing Act 09/04/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 11:31pm]
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