GRAND RAPID, MI – When Charles Cairn and his wife, Jinghong Zhao, brought their second child home to their condominium on the city’s West Side, the arrival was greeted with less than joy by their neighbors.
“Congratulations. What are you going to do for housing?” one of their neighbors at Grosse Pointe Estate Condominiums asked the couple, according to a March 26 lawsuit they filed in U.S. District Court.
The condominium association rules barred more than three residents in their three-bedroom two-level unit, according to a lawsuit Cairns filed against the condo association and its property manager, Select One Property Management, Inc.
The lawsuit alleges violations of the federal Fair Housing Act and seeks damages costs associated with their move to Ada, punitive damages and damages for emotional distress, according to Stephen Dane, their Washington, D.C.-based lawyer.
Dane said rules governing the number of occupants in condominiums, apartments or mobile home parks were outlawed in 1989. But many older communities failed to update their rules to reflect the law, he said.
A woman who answered the telephone for Select One denied the allegations, saying she was unaware of the lawsuit. “We would never force anyone to leave because of a child. It is not a senior community,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.
Elizabeth Stoddard, director of advocacy for the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan, said…