San Francisco Chronicle

Apartment owners agree to pay for restrictin­g kids

- By Bob Egelko Reach Bob Egelko: begelko@sfchronicl­ Twitter: @BobEgelko

The state of California announced a $3 million settlement Tuesday with owners of 48 Bay Area apartment complexes who were sued for discrimina­tion for refusing to let children play outdoors on their property.

The California Civil Rights Department sued Vasona Management Inc. and more than 30 apartment owners in Alameda County Superior Court in 2020 on behalf of a group of residents. The suit accused the owners of violating state and federal laws prohibitin­g discrimina­tion against families with children under 18.

Based on a report from the nonprofit advocacy group Project Sentinel and the department’s own investigat­ion, the suit said Vasona and the owners prohibited all outdoor play activities on their property and required parents to supervise children under age 14 in all common areas. Tenants who violated those rules could be evicted.

Under the settlement, the department said, Vasona will pay $3 million to the families, stop enforcing its restrictio­ns, and obtain the department’s approval for any future rules on outdoor activities or parental supervisio­n.

Vasona also agreed to provide tenants with brochures on their rights, establish procedures for tenants to report discrimina­tion, provide four hours a year of anti-discrimina­tion training to anyone involved in managing or renting property, and report annually to the state on its compliance, the department said. The settlement will take effect once a judge approves it.

“Overly restrictiv­e rules that discourage or prohibit children from enjoying their home unlawfully limit where people can live and harm families,” the department’s director, Kevin Kish, said in announcing the settlement.

Vasona is based in Campbell and has properties in 18 Bay Area locations. The company did not immediatel­y respond to a request for comment.

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