|HUD No. 23-068
HUD Public Affairs
April 3, 2023
HUD CHARGES OWNERS OF SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA APARTMENT BUILDING WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST FAMILY WITH MINOR CHILDREN
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging the Melinda Bautista Teruel 1992 Revocable Trust and Melinda Teruel, owners of an apartment building in Burlingame, California, with discriminating against a family with two minor children. Read the Charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against families with children under the age of 18. This includes making housing unavailable to families with children, making discriminatory statements about them, and harassing tenants because they are pregnant or have young children.
“As HUD prepares to commemorate Fair Housing Month during April 2023, this Charge of Discrimination is a reminder that the fight for fair housing must continue,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “The Department’s commitment to vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act has real-life impact for families with children, pregnant individuals and the communities we serve.”
HUD’s Charge of Discrimination alleges that when the couple first rented the one-bedroom apartment, they were pregnant with their first child. They later had a second child. The Charge asserts that even before the couple moved into the apartment, Teruel expressed displeasure that a child would be living in the unit and suggested that the couple rent a larger, more expensive unit instead. From then on, she made repeated efforts to convince the couple to move to a larger unit, although the couple made clear they could not afford it. After learning that the couple was expecting a second child, Teruel allegedly increased her efforts, repeatedly telling the couple that their children would cause damage to the apartment. Feeling harassed and at risk of imminent eviction, the family moved out of the apartment.
“The Fair Housing Act protects families from discrimination because of the presence of children or because they are expecting a child,” said HUD’s General Counsel Damon Smith. “This Charge should put landlords on notice that HUD takes those protections seriously.”
A United States Administrative Law Judge will hear HUD’s Charge unless any party to the Charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds, after a hearing, that discrimination has occurred, the judge may award damages to the family for their losses as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, to deter further discrimination, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties to vindicate the public interest. If a federal court hears the case, the judge may also award punitive damages to the complainants.
People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 6699777 (voice) 800-927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.