Dallas Fair Housing investigates a discrimination complaint against a North Dallas property manager
When Regina Milazzotto’s ex-girlfriend showed up late at night banging on her door, she called the police. The next day, the property manager at Bent Oaks Apartments in North Dallas left a notice on her door that she was in violation of her lease for creating a disturbance.
According to her lease, two violations could result in eviction.
The incident was a domestic violence situation, and police handled it that way, Milazzotto said. By the time they arrived, her ex-girlfriend was gone, but police told her to call back if she showed up again.
About six months later, the ex appeared at her door again in the middle of the night, creating another disturbance. The property manager’s response was to post another violation on Milazzotto’s door.
Milazzotto said she was afraid she was going to be evicted, that she was afraid any call to police would prompt legal action against her. So Milazzotto spoke to the property manager.
The manager’s response: “I’ve seen cop cars outside your door plenty of times.”
Over the summer, Milazzotto had a small fire on her balcony. A neighbor called the fire department, even though the fire was out before help arrived. The property manager was in her apartment and made a comment about how clean she kept her place. Milazzotto said she really is a good tenant and said the manager simply rolled her eyes before leaving.
That’s when she decided to contact a lawyer. From attorney Kasey Krummel’s view, there was some blatant discrimination going on at Bent Oaks.
Milazzotto said property management had been polite to her, but Krummel saw a more insidious form of discrimination taking place. She had Milazzotto check with some of her straight neighbors, and as it turns out, it seems Krummel was right.
When an ex-boyfriend showed up threatening a woman and police were called, that woman wasn’t cited with causing a disturbance or threatened with eviction. Milazzotto got the same story from several of her female neighbors.
So Krummel contacted the Dallas Fair Housing Office.
Dallas Fair Housing investigator was assigned to the case, but said she hadn’t yet spoken to Milazzotto.
Earles said her office does investigate complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Once she’s done with her investigation, she said, she’ll write up a report to send to the Dallas City Attorney’s Office. It would be up to the city attorney whether to go to court, try to conciliate or find another remedy for the situation.
Milazzotto said she doesn’t want to move. She likes her apartment, the location and her neighbors. She said even if she did move, with social media, mutual friends and where she hangs out, her ex will find her again anyway.
She thought of obtaining a restraining order. Investigators in that office referred her to a different office to obtain a protective order. That office told her tehre are too many steps to get a protective order, but what she needs is a restraining order. Krummel is looking into getting either for her client.
All Milazzotto wants is to live peacefully, without threats from her ex or her property manager.
“Everyone needs to feel safe where they live,” she said.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 21, 2016.