Feds: Pregnancy Led To Ouster

Posted: October 03, 1992

The U.S. attorney's office yesterday filed a civil complaint against a West Philadelphia real estate owner who tried to force a pregnant tenant to move out by cutting off the heat and locking her out of the apartment.

Charged with violating the Fair Housing Act were Marilyn Givens, owner of a two-family house on Berks Street near 52nd; Claude Boni Real Estate Co., the company which represented her; and Boni himself.

The pregnant tenant, Quanda Howie, rented a top-floor unit in the house

from May 5, 1989, until March 3, 1991.

According to the complaint, Givens and Boni urged Howie to move out as soon as they learned she was pregnant in 1990.

"Defendant Givens engaged in repeated acts of coercion, intimidation and harassment of Ms. Howie . . . including turning off the heat to Ms. Howie's apartment, turning off the power to Ms. Howie's kitchen, and locking Ms. Howie out of the apartment," the complaint said.

The government is seeking unspecified damages for violation of the act, which forbids discrimination based on "familial status," and for Howie's ''economic loss and emotional distress."

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