|HUD No. 19-149
HUD Public Affairs
October 4, 2019
HUD CHARGES MONTANA HOUSING PROVIDERS WITH DISCRIMINATING
AGAINST A FAMILY WITH CHILDREN
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging housing providers in Billings, Montana, with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent to and making discriminatory statements about a family with children. Read HUDâ€™s charge.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against families with children under the age of eighteen. Housing may exclude children only if it meets the Fair Housing Act's exemption for housing for older persons. It is also unlawful to make statements indicating a preference, limitation or discrimination because of familial status.
â€śOwners of rental properties and their agents donâ€™t have the right to discriminate against families who have children just because they have children,â€ť said Anna MarĂa FarĂas, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. â€śTodayâ€™s action is another of many similar actions the Department has taken when housing providers fail to meet their obligations under the law.â€ť
This case came to HUDâ€™s attention when a Montana mother filed a complaint alleging that Alice S. Klundt, Alice S. Klundt Living Trust, and Terry Pollert, who collectively own and manage a single-family rental home in Billings, refused to rent the home to her because she had two daughters under the age of eighteen. HUDâ€™s subsequent charge alleges that the housing providers denied the motherâ€™s application because of her minor children. The ownerâ€™s agent allegedly made oral and written statements with respect to rental of the home that indicated a preference, limitation and discrimination based on the presence of the minor children. The owner eventually rented the home to a couple with no children.
â€śThe Fair Housing Act requires that all Americans must have equal access to housing opportunities regardless of their familial status,â€ť said HUD General Counsel Paul Compton. â€śHUD has a duty to enforce these rights, and this case demonstrates our continuing commitment to that duty.â€ť
HUDâ€™s 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 complainant and her children 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.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
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