Georgia Landlords Charged with Discriminating Against Families with Children

HUD recently announced that it’s charging a couple who owns an apartment building in Georgia with violating fair housing law by refusing to rent to, imposing different rental terms and conditions on, and making discriminatory statements about families with children.

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against families with children under the age of 18. Housing may exclude children only if it meets the Fair Housing Act’s exemption for “housing for older persons.”

The case came to HUD’s attention when Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Council and the mother of two minor children filed complaints alleging that the couple employed a policy limiting the number of children that could reside in their apartments. HUD’s charge alleges that the couple’s business voicemail recording announced the policy to people 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 U.S. Administrative Law Judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court.

“Landlords and property owners don’t have the right to deny housing to families simply because they have children,” Anna Maria Farias, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “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,” said Paul Compton, HUD’s General Counsel.