|HUD No. 19-086
HUD Public Affairs
May 31, 2019
HUD CHARGES IDAHO LANDLORDS WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging the owners and manager of a rental home in Nampa, Idaho, with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent the home to a married couple because they have children. Read the charge.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to deny or limit housing because a family has children under the age of 18, make statements that discriminate against families with children, and impose different rules, restriction and policies on them.
“Denying a couple a place to live because they have children robs them of the opportunity to establish a stable home for their family and is a violation of the law,” said Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "Today’s action reinforces HUD’s commitment to protecting the right of every home seeker to obtain housing, regardless of their family make-up.”
The case came to HUD's attention when a mother of seven saw an ad on Craigslist for a rental home for $1,200 a month that consisted of 2,600 square feet, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, two living rooms and two bonus rooms. HUD’s charge alleges that the woman called the property manager, who is also the owners’ son, to inquire about the home and was told that the property was available. The manager also stated that the lease required that the first month's rent of $1,200 be paid, along with a $1,000 deposit and a $200 payment toward the last month’s rent.
The charge further alleges that a day later, the couple, accompanied by two of their children, went to view the property, fill out the rental application, and pay the required deposits. They met with the property manager, who asked them if the two children with them were the couple’s only children. According to the charge, when the woman replied that she and her husband have seven children, the manager immediately gestured that she should stop completing the application and told her that he did not want to waste their time, as the owners had set a four-children limit for the home. When the mother later sent a text message to the manager stating that the law generally allows two people per room, so the house has more than enough space, the manager allegedly replied, “Sorry, I’m just following the contract my parents have written out.”
“The Fair Housing Act requires that all Americans must have equal access to housing opportunities regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status,” said HUD General Counsel Paul Compton. “HUD has a duty to enforce these rights, and this case demonstrates our continuing commitment to that duty.”
The charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he or she may award damages to the complainants for their loss as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order other injunctive or equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties to vindicate the public interest.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).