Why Now Is Not The Time To Slack Off On Your Fair-Housing Compliance

Monday, December 03, 2018

Disability-related discrimination remains the most prevalent type

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) isn’t fooling around when it comes to fair housing enforcement. The case numbers continue to increase as HUD is taking a hard look at housing providers’ compliance efforts and missteps. Here are the latest fair-housing charges and settlement agreements.

Spotlight Remains on Discrimination Against Families with Children

Several recent housing discrimination cases have surfaced involving landlords or property managers who discriminated against families with children.

Case #1: HUD announced on Oct. 4 that it filed charges against the owners of El Patrimonio Apartments in McAllen, TX and its management company for allegedly threatening to fine a family $250 because the two children played in the community area of the apartment complex. HUD alleges that the owners enacted a policy that required children under the age of 18 to be supervised by an adult family member while on the property, including the pool area, or else face a $250 fine.

Why it’s illegal: The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of familial status, which includes setting restrictive terms and conditions on tenant families with children under the age of 18. In this case, the apartment complex policy and threatened fine discouraged families with children from using the communal areas (to read the charges, visit www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/FHEO/documents/18ElPatrimoniCharge.pdf).

Case #2: In a similar case, HUD charged the owners of a duplex in Kaukauna, WI with familial status-based discrimination for allegedly refusing to rent to a family because they have five children.

The owners purportedly told the parents that they were not comfortable having five children living in the unit, adding that they didn’t feel that the house would be cleaned properly and were concerned that the unit would be damaged, according to HUD’s charges (see www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/FHEO/images/18Hietpas.pdf).

Problem: Denying or limiting housing because a family has children under the age of 18, and making statements that discriminate against families with children, is unlawful under the Fair Housing Act.

In both cases, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) or a federal district court will determine whether illegal discrimination occu

 

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