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HUD Announces Wisconsin Fair Housing Case

March 28, 2022


The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against those who seek housing. Illegal discrimination includes sexual harassment, inappropriate questions about religion or orientation, family status, and much more. 

In spite of there being a federal law on the books that makes it a crime to discriminate at any stage of the housing process, some landlords, lenders, property owners, and property managers still insist on behavior that amounts to violations of this federal law.

And all such violations bring a chilling effect to the entire industry including mortgage lending and real estate purchasing. One of the latest unfortunate examples of what we mean?

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced Fair Housing charges against Leaf Property Investment, LLC, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Owner Sam Leaf and Property Manager Dennis Parker are responsible for a 19-unit property in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They are charged with discriminating “against a former male tenant because of his sexual orientation and disability” according to a HUD press release.

As mentioned above, the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination. But it also forbids harassment on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religion, or family status.

And thanks to a Supreme Court decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, sex discrimination under the Fair Housing Act “includes discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity” according to HUD.

Included in the HUD charges? Allegations that the property manager Dennis Parker, “…harassed the tenant because of his sexual orientation and disabilities.” 

HUD alleges Parker’s harassing conduct included” making unwelcome, sexually aggressive verbal comments; demanding sexual favors; sending unwanted, threatening, and degrading text messages; and using slurs and other demeaning language about the tenant’s sexual orientation and disability“ according to the HUD official site.

When the tenant reported this harassment to the authorities, HUD alleges he was subject to reprisals and even a physical confrontation.

“No one should feel unwelcome or unsafe in the sanctity of their own homes because of their sexual orientation or disability,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, who is quoted in the HUD press release. McCain adds, “Violating these rights is not only unacceptable, it is illegal.”

HUD’s Fair Housing charge is to come before a United States Administrative Law Judge unless anyone involved in the charge requests to have the case heard in federal district court instead. Have you had a similar experience with housing discrimination?

Have you encountered a different type of housing discrimination? In any case, report the problem to HUD by calling (800) 669-9777 (voice) 800-927-9275 (TTY). You can also contact the Department of Justice at (800) 896-7743 for assistance.

Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association. He was Managing editor for www.valoans.com for (8) years and is currently the Associate Editor for FHANewsblog.com.

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