The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it is charging landlords who own apartments in Richmond Hill, Georgia, and Nampa, Idaho, with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent to, imposing different rental terms and conditions on, and making discriminatory statements about families with children.
“Landlords and property owners don’t have the right to deny housing to families simply because they have children,” says Anna Maria Farias, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take appropriate action when individuals in the position to control access to housing fail to meet their responsibility to comply with the Fair Housing Act.”
“The Fair Housing Act generally prohibits landlords from limiting housing to families with a certain number of children. HUD is committed to enforcing the Act to ensure that families with children are given equal housing opportunities,” says Paul Compton, HUD’s General Counsel.
Richmond Hill, Georgia
This case came to HUD’s attention when Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Council and the mother of two minor children filed complaints alleging that Michael N. and Fonda W. Parker employed a policy limiting the number of children that could reside in their apartments.
HUD’s charge alleges that the Parkers’ business voicemail recording announced the policy to persons who phoned looking for housing. The policy allows only one child in a two-bedroom unit and two children in a three-bedroom unit.
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, payment of attorney fees and civil penalties.
HUD announced that the owners and managers of a single-family rental home in Nampa, Idaho, will pay $15,000 pursuant to a Consent Order resolving allegations that they violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent a large home to a married couple because they have more than four children.
The Consent Order resolves a charge HUD filed in May 2019, alleging that the homeowners discriminated against a family attempting to lease their 2,600 square-foot, four-bedroom rental home because they have seven minor children, and the property manager told them that the owners set a limit of four children for the home. The charge also alleges that the policy restricting the number of children was written in the rental contract.
In addition to the $15,000, the owners also agreed to retain the services of a professional property management company to manage their rental properties, and they attended fair housing training following the filing of the couple’s initial complaint.
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