Lead Paint No Excuse for Denying Families Housing

HUD recently approved a settlement agreement between an owner of rental properties in Massachusetts and a prospective tenant, resolving allegations that the owner refused to rent available units to the woman after learning that she has a child under the age of 6.

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against families with children. Housing providers may exclude children only if the housing meets the Fair Housing Act’s exemption for housing for older persons.

The case came to HUD’s attention when the prospective tenant filed a complaint with HUD claiming that the owner refused to rent to her because her child is under the age of 6. Massachusetts law requires landlords to “de-lead” any unit in which a child under 6 lives.

Under the terms of the agreement, the owner will pay the woman $15,000; undergo fair housing training; include language in all future rental ads indicating that he complies with all federal and state fair housing laws; and test and de-lead his properties as necessary.