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Discrimination charge filed vs. Fresh Meadows landlords

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has charged two Fresh Meadows landlords with violating the Fair Housing Act by allegedly making discriminatory statements to people posing as renters, including objecting to a black individual moving into what one owner called a white neighborhood.

Brothers Vyacheslav Uvaydov and Emanuil Uvaydov, who own a house at 71-04 171 St. in Fresh Meadows, allegedly made repeated inquiries about race and national origin to callers from the National Fair Housing Alliance and Long Island House Services pretending to be potential renters, according a HUD charge filed Aug. 7.

HUD said Vyacheslav Uvaydov asked callers responding to a Craigslist posting in 2007 whether they were Greek, Indian or Italian. When one caller from the National Fair Housing Alliance said her roommate would be African American, Vyacheslav Uvaydov allegedly told her that would be a problem because the neighborhood was white, HUD charged.

The charge goes on to say Vyacheslav Uvaydov then told the same caller there would be complaints if he rented the apartment to a black person and said he had received several other calls from “people of different colors” and he “just could not rent to them.”

HUD’s case will be heard by a U.S. administrative law judge unless any party elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If the judge finds discrimination has occurred, they may impose civil penalties against the brothers.

“The Fair Housing Act gives all persons the right to choose where they want to live regardless of their race, national origin, gender, religion, familial status or disability,” said John Trasvina, assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equality Opportunity. “We will aggressively pursue landlords and property owners who attempt to deny equal housing opportunities to individuals or families because of these characteristics.”

In August 2008, the National Fair Housing Alliance and the Long Island Housing Services, both fair housing advocacy and counseling organizations, separately filed complaints with HUD alleging that Vyacheslav Uvaydov discriminated against potential renters based on race or national origin.

The Uvaydovs are listed as living in the 171st Street house, though HUD could not confirm this. When a TimesLedger reporter knocked on the house’s door Tuesday, no one answered. There was no listed phone number for the Uvaydovs.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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