|HUD No. 10-148
July 15, 2010
HUD ALLEGES ADS BY DENVER AREA CONDO ASSOCIATION DISCRIMINATE AGAINST FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has charged a Denver condominium association with violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against families with children under the age of 18. According to HUD's charge, Windsor Gardens Association allegedly maintained discriminatory restrictions and published discriminatory statements and advertisements that limited or denied housing to families with children. One statement read: "Head of household must be 50 years of age; children under the age of 17 are not permitted."
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to print or publish advertisements that indicate a preference or otherwise discriminate against families with children.
"Condo associations that don't meet federal requirements as housing for seniors only don't have the right to turn away families with children," said John Trasviña, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "With the nation's shortage of decent, affordable housing it's even more important that we take action against those who violate the Fair Housing Act."
HUD's charge is the result of an investigation into Windsor Gardens Association's advertising practices. HUD determined that the association's promotional campaign, as well as its rules and policies, unlawfully restricted resident occupancy to persons age 50 and older and prohibited resident children under the age of 17.
Additionally, another ad read, "Windsor Gardens, Denver's premier in Town 50+ Community." The Fair Housing Act prohibits condo associations from discriminating against families with children, unless the housing is exclusively designed for senior citizens. Housing may qualify as housing for older persons if it meets certain requirements, including that 80 percent of the units have at least one resident age 55 or older and that it publishes policies that demonstrate a consistent intent. Windsor Gardens does not meet the federal definition as housing for seniors only.
The HUD charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the family for its losses and order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination. In addition, the judge may impose fines in order to vindicate the public interest and award attorney fees. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages to aggrieved persons.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 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).
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.