WASHINGTON, DC – September 28, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging the owners and manager of an apartment complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with discriminating against families with children. HUD’s charge alleges that the manager discouraged families from applying for housing by making biased statements and placing discriminatory advertising on craigslist.org.
The charge is the result of a complaint that The Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia (FHCSP) filed with HUD after testers with the non-profit fair housing organization determined that ads the manager placed discriminated against families with children. One continuous running ad the manager posted on craigslist.com stated: “This would be a good place for a mature couple. Too many stairs for young children.”The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to make statements that express a preference or otherwise discriminate against families with children.
“The Fair Housing Act makes ‘no kids allowed’ policies illegal,” said John Trasviña, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take action against owners and landlords whose policies and practices violate the law.”
In one test the manager allegedly told a FHCSP tester posing as a mother with a 5-year-old child that residents of the complex did not want noisy kids running up and down the stairs. When the tester asked to view the apartment, the manager allegedly said, “Well, I most definitely wouldn’t rent to people with children so there really is no use.” The manager told another tester posing as a married man with no children that some people with children had contacted her even though the ad clearly stated that the unit was not for children, and agreed to show him the property the next day.
A United States Administrative Law Judge will hear HUD’s charge unless any party elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the complainant. In addition, the judge may impose fines to vindicate the public interest, order injunctive and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination, and require payment of attorney fees. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages to the aggrieved persons.
HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate approximately 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually.
People who believe they have experienced or witnessed unlawful housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), or 1-800-927-9275 (TTY). More information about fair housing rights is available at HUD’s website, www.hud.gov/fairhousing.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the
need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build
inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and
http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at
www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s News Listserv.