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Case Name United States v. Charter Realty Company FH-VA-0007
Docket / Court 196-73 ( E.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Case Summary
This is a case about racial discrimination perpetuated by a Virginia real estate company.

On May 14, 1973, the United States Department of Justice filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The plaintiff sued the Charter Realty Company under the ... read more >
This is a case about racial discrimination perpetuated by a Virginia real estate company.

On May 14, 1973, the United States Department of Justice filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The plaintiff sued the Charter Realty Company under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (FHA) (42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.). The plaintiff claimed that the defendant was engaged in a pattern and practice of denying Fair Housing rights by failing to provide Black people with the same level of real estate brokerage services provided to white people. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant would show Black prospective buyers listings in neighborhoods that were predominantly black or "racially changing"; for white prospective buyers, the defendant would show listings in predominantly white neighborhoods. This included making certain listings unavailable based on the prospective buyer's race. The defendant would also induce white homeowners to sell by telling them that Black people would be potentially moving into their neighborhoods.

Because the defendant expressed a willingness to cooperate, the plaintiff agreed not to pursue litigation to determine whether the defendant had engaged in discriminatory conduct in the past. Instead, the court approved a consent decree on May 14, 1973 (the day the complaint was filed). The consent decree included a permanent injunction, a new program for the defendant to comply with the FHA, and reporting instructions.

In the permanent injunction, the defendant was enjoined from doing any of the following on account of race, color, religion, or national origin:

  1. Refusing to show, sell, or rent a dwelling;

  2. Making a dwelling unavailable;

  3. Failing to provide information about a dwelling in a predominantly white neighborhood;

  4. Discriminating in the terms and conditions of sale or rental services, including financing;

  5. Steering a prospective buyer toward a particular neighborhood;

  6. Inducing a person to sell because of people who might be moving into the neighborhood; and

  7. Failing to conduct solicitation efforts in a similar manner for all areas.

The decree also enjoined the defendant from advertising any discriminatory preference and falsely representing a dwelling as unavailable for inspection.

In addition to refraining from the above behavior, the defendant agreed to create an educational program for sales personnel within 30 days of the consent decree. It also agreed to implement a new program of compliance that included informing the public, customers, and clients of its nondiscrimination policy and developing guidelines to make sure all prospective buyers would be informed about available properties.

The consent decree also required the defendant to file reports with the court. After the first 30 days, the defendant would report on the preliminary steps it took to implement the decree. After 90 days, the defendant would file a report every three months for the next two years, detailing items such as Equal Housing Opportunity Forms, employee personnel changes, listings, prospective buyers, homeowners with listings managed by the defendant, homeowners who refused to give listings to the defendant because of the defendant's antidiscrimination policy, and financial institutions that refused to give a mortgage to a black person buying a home in a predominantly white area. The defendant would include information about individuals' races and racial compositions of neighborhoods.

The defendant was permitted to keep racial records for complying with the decree, and the plaintiff could inspect records related to sales and rentals. The defendant could move to dissolve the decree after two years.

The consent decree is the only document available for this case, so no other information is known. The case has presumably finished.

Lauren Yu - 03/18/2021

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Content of Injunction
Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Provide antidiscrimination training
Housing Sales/Rental
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
Religion discrimination
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Defendant(s) Charter Realty Corporation
Plaintiff Description The United States Department of Justice.
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1973 - 1975
Filed 05/14/1973
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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  The Origins of Fair Lending Litigation
Date: Dec. 4, 2008
By: Andrew Nash (Washington University in St. Louis Law Student)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
E.D. Va.
Consent Decree
FH-VA-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Alexander (Sandy) Ross
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Judges Kellam, Richard Boykin (E.D. Va.) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Schwelb, Frank E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Murphy, James A. Jr. (Virginia) show/hide docs

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