N.J. Landlord Charged with Race Discrimination

HUD recently announced that it has charged a New Jersey property owner with housing discrimination for allegedly refusing to rent an apartment to an African-American woman because of her race. HUD’s charge further alleged that the owner used racial slurs in a text message he sent to the woman informing her that she didn’t get the apartment.

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to deny housing to someone because of his or her race or color.

The case came to HUD’s attention when a woman filed a complaint alleging that she and her young son were denied the opportunity to rent a two-bedroom apartment that was advertised on Craigslist because they are African American. HUD’s charge, on behalf of the woman, alleged that in text messages, the owner informed the woman that she didn’t “make the cut” and used racial slurs.

HUD's charge will be heard by an administrative law judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court.

“Fifty years after our nation passed a law prohibiting discrimination in housing, some individuals are still being denied a place to live because of the color of their skin,” Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “Today’s action reflects HUD’s commitment to protecting the rights of home seekers, no matter their race, and taking action against housing providers that break the law.”

“No one looking for housing should be rejected because of race, much less be subjected to the indignity of racial slurs,” said J. Paul Compton, HUD’s General Counsel. “This charge sends a clear message that HUD will protect the housing rights of all persons to the fullest extent of the law.”