I have reported in the past about avoiding discrimination against families with children. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) was amended in 1988 to add familial status as a protected class. Professional apartment owners and managers must welcome children to our communities. Running ads for housing that say "No Kids" or "Adults Only" can lead to trouble. It happens time and time again.
For example, in November 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the settlement of a lawsuit alleging that Lee Enterprises, Inc. violated the FHA by publishing an advertisement that discriminated on the basis of familial status in the Elko Daily Free Press in Nevada.
As do so many other actions brought by the DOJ, the case started with a complaint filed by a local fair housing testing entity with HUD alleging that a print ad for rental housing which provided that "no kids" (and pets) were permitted. HUD issued a charge of discrimination and the DOJ filed a complaint in November 2009.
Interestingly, this case was filed against the owner of the newspaper that published the offending ad — and not the owner of the rental housing at issue. The publisher paid a small financial penalty, agreed to train its employees not to run these types of ads in the future as well as to file reports with the government. This case reminds us that the FHA applies to all who participate in the housing industry — including those who publish advertising for rental housing.
Just A Thought.