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Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman

United States Supreme Court
455 U.S. 363 (1982)


Havens Realty Corporation (defendant) owned a pair of apartment complexes in Henrico County, a suburb of Richmond, VA. Paul Coles (plaintiff) inquired about renting an apartment from Havens but was told that there were no vacancies. Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) employed Sylvia Coleman, who was black, and Kent Willis, who was white (collectively, plaintiffs), to test Havens’s renting policies. Coleman and Willis made independent inquiries to Havens about the availability of apartments. Havens told Coleman that there were no vacancies but told Willis that there were vacancies. The plaintiffs brought suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act. The district court dismissed the claims of HOME, Coleman, and Willis on the ground that they lacked standing because they were testers and did not actually intend to live at a Havens complex. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari. The plaintiffs argued that Havens violated their right under the Fair Housing Act to be provided with accurate housing information. Further, Coleman and Willis, who lived in Richmond and Henrico County, claimed that Havens deprived them of the right to live in an integrated, diverse neighborhood.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)

Concurrence (Powell, J.)

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