Washington Landlords Accused of Discriminating Against Families with Children

The owners and manager of three Washington communities are facing claims accusing them of violating fair housing law by refusing to rent their apartments to families with children.

In a complaint filed earlier this month, the Justice Department alleged that in March 2014, the community manager told a woman seeking an apartment for herself, her husband, and their 1-year old child that the buildings were “adult only” and therefore not available to her family. The complaint also alleges that at various other times from April 2014 to November 2015, the community advertised available units as being restricted to adults only. The family filed a complaint with HUD, which conducted an investigation, issued a charge of discrimination, and referred the case to the Justice Department.

“The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from denying apartments to families just because they have children,” Tom Wheeler, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “Many families already face challenges finding affordable housing, and they should not also have to deal with unlawful discrimination.”

“Equal access to housing is essential for all Americans, including families with young children,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes of the Western District of Washington. “Particularly in our tight housing market, landlords must follow the law and make units available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status.”

The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegations must still be proven in federal court.