I have discussed familial status discrimination any number of times here at the Fair Housing Defense blog. Apartment owners and management companies must understand that advertising and attempting to lease most apartments to "adults only" renters or charging extra for children will subject you to unneeded scrutiny. Just recently, HUD charged several properties under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) for violating the law against discriminating against families with children.
You might ask how HUD learned of some of these matters? Well, local fair housing testers were scanning advertisements and found ads on various sites that appeared to state the owners did not want children in their units. Testers were sent in and ultimately HUD charged the cases.
Specifically, on September 8, 2011, HUD charged the owners of an apartment building in Wayne, Pennsylvania with discrimination on the basis of familial status by refusing to rent or show apartments to families with children. The case arose from a complaint filed by fair housing testers who initiated testing of the property after viewing several advertisements for the apartments on craiglist.com indicating a “no children” policy.
On September 2, 2011, HUD charged the owner and apartment manager of a single family house in La Crosse, Wisconsin with discrimination with violating the FHA on the basis of sex and familial status. The manager would not rent nor show the property to a single mother, because she did not have a man to "shovel the snow." The manager reiterated this opinion to HUD staff four times during the investigation.
On July 21, 2011 HUD charged the owner and manager an apartment building in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania for discriminating against families with children, by imposing different rental charges when a child was present in the family. Management quoted one price for adults and an increased amount if a child was going to live in the unit.
Remember I am a defense lawyer and I always want to hear the other side of the story. In fact, it is my job to ensure HUD knows what really took place. However, in these cases — which will now be heard by a HUD Administrative Law Judge or referred to federal court — management will have some serious explaining to do.
Just A Thought.