Pennsylvania Community to Pay $15,000 to Settle HUD Charges

March 27, 2012
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The owner of a Pennsylvania apartment complex recently agreed to pay $15,000 to settle claims that the development’s on-site manager discriminated against families with children. Last summer, HUD charged the owner and manager with charging families higher rent when they have children and indicating a preference against families with children. Under federal fair housing law, it is unlawful to impose different rental charges and terms of a lease on households because of the presence of children.

A fair housing organization filed the HUD complaint, alleging that its testing showed that the manager charged households with children more than same-size households without children. In one test, the manager allegedly told a tester posing as a mother with a son that she would have to pay $775 for a two-bedroom apartment that had been advertised as renting for $740; later that same day, he allegedly told a different tester posing as a married woman with no children that a two-bedroom apartment rented for $745 a month. In another test, he allegedly told a tester posing as a married woman with no children that a two-bedroom apartment was $740 a month, while telling a tester who inquired later that day whether children were welcome, “It’s just going to be higher at $775 a month.”

“No family should have to pay more for a place to live or be discouraged from living someplace simply because they have children,” HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity John Trasviña said in a statement. “HUD is committed to ensuring that property owners meet their obligation to treat every applicant and resident the same.”

HUD’s charge also accused the owner and manager of posting discriminatory statements in online advertisements, indicating a preference against families with children. Allegedly, one of the ads placed by the manager stated: "Winter Special Price for Two Adults."

Under the settlement, the owner agreed to pay $15,000 to the fair housing organization and to implement a nondiscrimination policy at the community. The complex will also display fair housing signs in its leasing office, as well as the “Equal Housing Opportunity” logo on its vacancy signs and other rental materials.

Source: HUD