HUD: Montana Housing Providers Discriminated Against Family with Kids

HUD recently announced that it has charged housing providers in Montana with violating federal fair housing law by refusing to rent to and making discriminatory statements about a family with children.

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) makes it unlawful to discriminate against families with children under the age of 18. Housing may exclude children only if it meets the FHA’s exemption for housing for older persons. It’s also unlawful to make statements indicating a preference, limitation, or discrimination because of familial status.

The case came to HUD’s attention when a Montana mother filed a complaint alleging that the owners and managers of a single-family rental home refused to rent the home to her because she had two daughters under the age of 18. HUD’s subsequent charge alleges that the housing providers denied the mother’s application because of her minor children. The owner’s agent allegedly made oral and written statements with respect to rental of the home that indicated a preference, limitation, and discrimination based on the presence of the minor children. Allegedly, the owner eventually rented the home to a couple with no children.

“Owners of rental properties and their agents don’t have the right to discriminate against families who have children just because they have children,” Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “Today’s action is another of many similar actions the Department has taken when housing providers fail to meet their obligations under the law.”

HUD’s charge will be heard by a U.S. administrative law judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court.