There are many reasons why we report on Fair Housing Act laws. Violations of Fair Housing laws don’t just directly affect the borrower who is trying to purchase a home; such violations can hurt renters who are in the planning stages of a home loan or those who are actively looking as renters who have relocated to a new job market, etc.
Families with children looking to rent or buy with an FHA loan (or any other type of mortgage) may experience discrimination based on family status. One recent example discussed on the HUD home page makes it clear that people from all walks of life may experience this type of illegal discrimination.
Consider a recent example in Wichita, Kansas, where credit history, payment status, or other financial qualifications were NOT the cause for denying housing to a resident who sought to modify an existing lease.
“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging the property owners, operator, and office manager of a multifamily property in Wichita, Kansas with violating the Fair Housing Act by terminating the lease of a resident who had asked that her grandchild be allowed to live with her”. That’s according to a press release on the HUD official site, which adds:
“The case came to HUDs attention when a female resident filed a complaint alleging that the owners of Northridge Apartments, a complex in Wichita consisting of 16 one-bedroom units, terminated her lease after she asked if she could add her granddaughter to her lease. The grandmother had obtained custody of the child shortly before she made the request.”
HUD is bringing charges against the property manager, who was described in the press release as having told the renter the told her that her request may be a problem, and that, according to the press release, the owner doesnt want kids on the property. The HUD release also includes allegations that “the owners gave notice that they were terminating the lease of another family with a child around the same time.”
Such discrimination, if true, is a violation of Fair Housing laws. “Grandparents shouldnt have their housing taken from them simply because theyre guardians of young children, said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, who is quoted in the press release. This charge reinforces HUDs commitment to ensuring that housing providers meet their obligation to treat families with children the same as any other resident.
If you feel you have experienced Fair Housing Act violations in your search for housing, contact the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).