If you have ever experienced discrimination while looking for a place to rent or buy as your primary residence, the Department of Housing and Urban Development wants to hear from you. Know your Fair Housing rights–you might not know when you’ll need to use them.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it is bringing charges of housing discrimination against conservators of the Felder Peter King Estate of Ward Protectee, the Estate, and the owners and property manager of duplex and triplex apartments in St. Charles, Missouri.
The charges involve alleged housing discrimination “for allegedly refusing to rent an apartment to a prospective tenant because he has two children” Fair Housing Act laws do not permit landlords to deny applicants housing on the basis of family status including turning down housing applications from families with children under the age of 18.
“Families today face enough challenges without being denied a place to call home because they have children,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, who was quoted in the HUD press release issued September 17, 2021.
She adds, “Today’s action reaffirms HUD’s commitment to ensuring that housing providers meet their obligation to treat all home seekers equally, including those with children.”
We report on these cases because housing discrimination has chilling effects on all house hunters. If you are looking for a home to buy but must rent in the meantime, for example, being denied housing on the basis of family status such as is alleged in this latest HUD Fair Housing action makes it much harder for you to find and purchase a suitable home.
The victims of discrimination are often the ones with the power to halt future abuses; in this case, HUD says, “the father of two filed a complaint alleging that he was denied the opportunity to rent an apartment because he has young children”.
According to the charge, an apartment manager indicated an apartment could not be rented. The HUD press release says direct statements were made referencing “the boss” giving a “firm no” against renting to those with children.
“Housing providers are required by law to rent to families with children. HUD will enforce the law to ensure that families with children can get the housing they need,” according to HUD General Counsel Damon Smith.
This Fair Housing Act case goes before a United States Administrative Law Judge; if there is a determination that Fair Housing Act laws were violated, it could result in monetary damages being awarded to the victim and civil penalties may apply for the violators as well.
If you have experienced discrimination at any stage in the housing process, file a complaint with the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay).