Real Estate Firm Settles Allegations of Discrimination Against Families with Children

A Massachusetts real estate company recently agreed to settle HUD complaints alleging that the company and its agents violated fair housing law by discouraging families with children from renting over concerns that the units might contain lead-based paint hazards. A fair housing organization filed the complaints, claiming that when prospective renters responded to online ads placed by the company, its agents discouraged families with children from applying.

Federal fair housing law makes it unlawful to deny or limit housing because a family has children under the age of 18 and to make statements that discriminate against families with children. Housing may exclude children only if it meets the law’s exemption for housing for older persons.

The settlement calls on the company to pay $9,500 to the fair housing organization and to fund a public service campaign in English- and Spanish-language radio stations and newspapers, emphasizing that refusing to rent to families with children because of the possible presence of lead paint is an act of discrimination that violates fair housing law.

“Families with children have a right to the same housing choices as other families,” Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “We are pleased that these agreements will help more families to be informed about the Fair Housing Act and their right to live in a healthy home.”

Source: HUD