The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rambo, District Judge.
A bench trial was held by this court on December 9-11, 1991
in the captioned matter. Both parties presented witnesses and
evidence. After giving the matter close consideration, the
court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of
1. Charles and Lori Meiler have resided, since the middle of
March 1989, in a two bedroom mobile home on a lot leased from
the defendants at the L & L Mobile Home Park ("L & L").
2. In early September 1989 the Meilers became aware that
they were expecting their first child due in April 1990.
3. The rules and regulations of L & L then prohibited
children from residing in the park and also restricted
occupancy to two persons per unit.
4. The Meilers were aware that children were not permitted
in the park and they feared they would be evicted when the
park owners found out they were expecting a child. This led
the Meilers to sign a housing discrimination complaint
alleging discrimination on the basis of familial status. The
original complaint, signed only by Charles Meiler, was filed
with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
("HUD") on November 20, 1989. An amended complaint was signed
also by Lori Meiler on January 16, 1990.
5. In response to HUD inquiries, on or around December 5,
1989, defendant Benjamin F. Lepore, Jr. advised HUD that L &
L would abandon its "adults only" policy. Defendants did not,
however, alter the two person occupancy restriction.
6. Charles and Lori Meilers' child, Stacy, was born on April
7. On August 6, 1990, while the Meilers' discrimination
complaint was still under investigation by HUD, the defendants
sent a letter to the Meilers telling them to vacate the lot in
the L & L Mobile Home Park within thirty (30) days because
they were in violation of the two person occupancy limitation.
The Meilers signed an amended housing complaint with HUD on
August 8, 1990 to indicate they had received this notice to
8. Charles and especially Lori Meiler were distressed by the
receipt of the notice to vacate. They were very fearful of the
loss of their home. The Meilers sought but were unable to
locate a space for their trailer in another mobile home park.
They found that other mobile home parks would not accept an
older trailer, such as theirs, because it did not have a
peaked roof and siding which gives a mobile home a house like
appearance. The Meilers believed they would have to sell their
trailer and seek decent and affordable housing elsewhere. Due
to their limited income and savings, however, the Meilers were
unable to purchase another home. The Meilers, then with a very
young child, were reluctant to live with relatives and were
with the consequent disruption in their own lives and that of
their relatives. Charles Meiler was concerned that he would
have to leave his wife and infant child and live elsewhere.
9. In response to the receipt of the eviction notice,
Charles and Lori Meiler incurred time and transportation
expenses in searching for alternative housing. Charles and
Lori Meiler spent eight hours and traveled thirty miles in
seeking alternative housing. Mr. Meiler's time is calculated
at the rate of $10 per hour based on his approximate hourly
rate. The use of their private vehicle is calculated at the
government rate of $0.24 per mile. This loss totals $87.20.
10. Charles Meiler lost wages in the amount of $40.00 when
he was required to leave work on August 14, 1990 to sign an
amended HUD complaint to initiate the prompt judicial action
11. On September 5, 1990, the United States filed a
complaint for prompt judicial action pursuant to the Act,
42 U.S.C. § 3610(e), seeking emergency relief to enjoin the
imminent eviction of the Meilers from L & L pending completion
of the HUD investigative process and decisionmaking. United
States v. Lepore, Civil No. 1:CV-90-1617. A temporary
restraining order was entered on September 5, 1990 and on
September 12, 1990 this court entered a consent order enjoining
defendants from evicting Charles and Lori Meiler until their
complaint is finally resolved in accord with the procedures of
the Act. The Meilers continue to reside at L & L.
12. The Meilers have incurred the expense of sending rent
checks via certified mail to document payment, an expense
13. Charles and Lori Meiler also incurred time and
transportation expenses in filing complaints with HUD and
meeting with HUD officials to contest the adults only and the
two person occupancy restrictions. The Meilers spent six hours
and traveled 20 miles in this endeavor. The Meilers have also
spent eight hours and have traveled an additional 20 miles in
meeting with an attorney from the Department of Justice. The
Meilers have further incurred travel and possible loss of
wages as a consequence of their attendance at court hearings
for which these findings will later be amended. Mr. Meiler's
time is calculated at the rate of $10 per hour based on his
approximate hourly rate. The use of their private vehicle is
calculated at the government rate of $.24 per mile. This loss
presently equals $149.60.
14. L & L is a 37 lot mobile home park located at 3700 West
Market Street, York, Pennsylvania 17404.
15. Defendants Benjamin F. Lepore, Jr. ("Ben, Jr.," "Mr.
Lepore") and Joyce M. Lepore own and operate L & L.
16. Defendants acquired L & L from Mr. Lepore's father,
Benjamin Lepore, Sr. ("Ben, Sr.").
17. Ben, Sr. had built L & L in or around 1955. In the
mid-1960s, Ben, Sr. imposed a two person per mobile home
occupancy limitation in the park.
18. At the time of purchase, L & L had no child residents.
19. Lots in L & L are offered for lease for the placement of
mobile homes owned by others. For a monthly rent defendants
provide a lot space, water and sewer hook-up, garbage
collection, and maintenance of a private access road. Lessees
pay providers for other utilities such as electricity,
telephone and fuel.
20. Under provisions of L & L rules and regulations, the
defendants have the right to approve all residents in the
park. The L & L rules and regulations set forth defendants'
conditions for residency in the trailer in L & L.
21. In the late 1970s, defendants instituted an explicit
"adults only" policy. This was done to accommodate the park's
aging population regarding noise and other problems associated
22. Defendants defined children as persons under 18 years of
23. In May 1985, defendant Benjamin Lepore, Jr. stated to
Sandra Holtzapple, a new tenant, that he did not want children
living in the park because they would deface or harm the
property — the buildings, the shed and
barn structure, the septic system and the water pump.
24. In February 1987, defendant Benjamin Lepore, Jr. stated
to another new tenant, Duane Martin, that he did not want
children in the park because he felt that children would be
disruptive to the adults living in the park. He also expressed
concern with parents of children dropping diapers into the
25. In September 1988, defendant Benjamin Lepore, Jr. stated
to Diane Mellott, another new tenant, that he did not want
children in the park because they would flush toys and other
objects down the toilet, that children made too much noise,
and that the quiet and peaceful nature of the park would be
26. In late March or early April 1989, defendant Benjamin
Lepore, Jr. stated, in response to a request by an owner of a
trailer, one Sharon Minnich, to sell the trailer to families
with children, that he had a problem once before with children
flushing things down the toilet.
27. Defendants have also indicated they did not want
children in the park because of a belief that all children
used more water than adults, a belief defendants based solely
on limited experience with their own children. This subjective
and oversimplified view of all children had no basis in fact,
and it was not a reasonable basis for banning children from
28. Defendant Benjamin Lepore, Jr. informed HUD investigator
Mark Haas in an interview on December 5, 1989 that he had not
previously known about the new fair housing law prohibiting
discrimination on the basis of familial status.
29. However, shortly after March 12, 1989, the effective
date of the amendments to the Fair Housing Act, Benjamin
Lepore, Jr. was informed by Sharon Minnich, who was then
seeking to sell a trailer in L & L to families with children,
that the new fair housing law would prevent defendants from
continuing to prohibit children from living in the park.
Defendants did not change their "adults only" or two person
30. From the time they acquired L & L, defendants maintained
a policy in the L & L rules and regulations of limiting
occupancy to no more than two persons in a trailer
irrespective of the size of the trailer.
31. The continuation of the two person occupancy limit after
December 1989 and to the present would not allow the Meilers
to continue living at L & L and would also exclude all other
families comprised of two parents with one or more children,
as well as single parent families with two or more children.
32. At present, a mother and infant daughter reside at L &
L under no threat of eviction.
33. There are a total of 45,695 families with children
living in York County, Pennsylvania according to the 1990
census. At least 36,749 of these families, or 80.42% of the
total, are comprised of three or more persons, all of whom
would be ineligible to reside at L & L under its two person
per unit occupancy restriction.
34. A reason stated by defendants for the continuation of
the two person occupancy restriction is that permitting more
than two persons per lot would create more waste water than
the septic tanks could handle.
35. The septic system at L & L is composed of nine tanks of
500 gallon capacity each. The number of mobile homes serviced
by a single tank varies from 2 to 5 mobile homes. Wastewater
from the mobile homes flows through a sewer pipe into the
36. A two person occupancy restriction is not required by
the minimum dwelling space requirements of West Manchester
Township which has no limit on the number of individuals who
can live in a dwelling unit if they are related by blood,
marriage or adoption and maintain a common household. Up to
three unrelated persons who maintain a common household may
live in a dwelling. Zoning Ordinance, West Manchester
Township, York County, Pennsylvania, at 7-8. See definitions of
"single family detached dwelling" and "family."
37. Reasonably priced alternatives are available to the
defendants which may help to control septic malfunction which
would permit more than two persons to live on a unit.
38. Septic overflow can be controlled by pumping out the
septic tanks. They state that the only limitations on more
frequent pumping are its cost and availability.
39. On or around September 4, 1990 Joyce Lepore responded to
a telephone call from HUD investigator Haas by refusing his
request to forestall evicting the Meilers.
40. Since January 1, 1988 defendants have had the septic
tanks at L & L pumped no more than twice a year. Six of the
nine tanks have gone intervals of two ...