FREMONT (KPIX) - Families in Fremont have scored a huge legal victory after they sued their condo complex because it wouldn't let their kids play outside.
For years, kids were not allowed to play outside in the gated complex located on Sequim Common, home to dozens of families. The homeowners association, Silvertree Mohave HOA, had set up the rules, but now an $800,000 settlement is forcing management to pay up.
Things got so bad for one homeowner in the complex, she decided to move her family to Brentwood.
"It was rough, it was a lot of harassment, it was a lot of limitations for them not having a place to go to and play," said plaintiff Domenica Lewis.
Lewis said her two children, 7 and 10, were born and raised in their Fremont home.
She said notices were sent to all residents forbidding children under 14 from doing any sports activities -- bike riding, playing outside or skateboarding. The HOA said they were worried about everyone's safety within the community. The notices warned of fines.
Lewis says she received many fake threats and warnings from the Silvertree Mohave board members.
"Harassment, filming, video recording my kids, taking pictures of my kids," she said.
The $800,000 settlement in the class action lawsuit was brought by pro-bono council. Each member of a family will receive about $2,300. The housing advocacy nonprofit called Project Sentinel investigated the case.
"We felt that it was fairly clear discrimination when children, families with children were told you gotta keep your children inside," said the non-profit's executive director Ann Marquart. "They can't - they won't be treated or regarded as everyone else."
When the Lewis family petitioned to change the rules, they say they were threatened with more fines. The settlement now requires the homeowners association to rescind the rules.
As part of the settlement, the Silvertree Mohave HOA must also post signs letting residents know that children can play outside, and provide fair housing training for all board members.
In addition, the settlement called for two members of the Silvertree Mohave HOA board to resign.
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