SAN DIEGO (AP) — Two housing companies have been fined for illegally evicting military service members and their families from rental homes in Southern California.
In a settlement with the Department of Justice, Lincoln Military Property Management and San Diego Family Housing agreed to pay $260,000 in penalties and fines covering four improper evictions that took place between 2008 and 2013, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/2bfMndK ).
The companies also agreed to pay $252,000 in fines and fees under a settlement with California authorities.
The settlements covered 17 troops in San Diego County and one in nearby Orange County who were evicted for not paying rent.
State and federal laws ban eviction when active-duty military can't appear in court because of their duties, such as a deployment, and don't have a lawyer.
In a joint statement, the companies said they have taken actions to address the problem. Lincoln Military said it manages 36,000 military homes across the country while San Diego Family Housing is a partnership between Lincoln and the Defense Department.
Brittany Marks, who lives in one of Lincoln's housing communities, said the eviction was insulting to military families.
"If they don't know the laws protecting troops or decided to ignore them, that's beyond forgiveness," Marks told the newspaper.
Information from: The San Diego Union-Tribune, http://www.utsandiego.com