N.H. Landlords Charged with Discriminating Against Families with Children
HUD recently charged a group of New Hampshire landlords with housing discrimination for allegedly denying families with children the opportunity to rent certain apartments. HUD alleged that the owner of a 192-unit apartment complex and its on-site manager engaged in housing discrimination by limiting rental options for applicants with young children.
The case came to HUD’s attention when a mother filed a complaint alleging that she had been denied the opportunity to rent a two-bedroom unit at the community. After an investigation, HUD filed a charge on behalf of the woman, alleging that after the manager learned that she had an infant son, he told her that she could rent only one of the first-floor units, none of which was available. The charge also alleged that a legal aid organization conducted fair housing testing, which revealed similar treatment of testers posing as prospects with children.
Federal fair housing law prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to families with children under age 18. Each year, approximately 12 percent of the complaints that are filed with HUD allege familial status discrimination.
HUD’s charge will be heard by a U.S. administrative law judge unless either party elects to take the case to court. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, the judge may award damages to the woman for her loss, as well as attorney fees and civil penalties.
“Families shouldn’t be restricted to particular units of a housing development or subjected to different rental terms just because they have children,” Bryan Greene, HUD’s General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “HUD is committed to protecting the housing rights of families with children and will continue to take appropriate enforcement action whenever those rights are violated.”