|HUD No. 09-201
October 14, 2009
HUD CHARGES OWNERS OF MICHIGAN RESIDENTIAL MOTEL WITH REFUSING TO RENT TO WOMEN
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that it is charging David and Yvonne Parker, the owners of Kirtwood Motel, a residential motel in Temperance, Michigan, with discriminating against women. The HUD charge alleges that Mr. Parker refused to rent to females, limiting the housing to men-only. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on a person's sex.
The charge was issued on behalf of a woman with children who sought to live at Kirtwood Motel and the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan (FHCSM), a HUD-funded agency that conducts fair housing testing, investigation, and education activities that help eliminate housing discrimination. According to the charge, after receiving a discrimination complaint based on sex from a woman to whom Mr. Parker allegedly refused to rent, FHCSM conducted fair housing tests. Mr. Parker reportedly told the testers that he rented only to men. The charge further alleges that Mr. Parker said he would rather close his business than allow women to live there.
"Violating the fair housing rights of women is unacceptable," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO). "Landlords must follow the requirements of the Fair Housing Act and understand that discriminating against someone based on their sex is against the law."
The HUD charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an ALJ finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, the ALJ may award damages to the complainants for their injuries as a result of the discrimination. The ALJ may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the ALJ may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest. If a party elects to have the case heard in federal court, a federal district court judge may also award punitive damages to the complainants.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate over 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), 800-927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.