|HUD No. 11-247
October 7, 2011
HUD CHARGES NEW YORK REAL ESTATE COMPANY AND SALESPERSON WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
Online advertisement stated preference for childless renters
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging Metro Net Realty, LLC, a Queens, NY, real estate agency, and a salesperson for the agency with violating the Fair Housing Act by placing advertisements on Craigslist that discriminated against families with children. HUD brings the charge on behalf of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), alleging that the advertisements that stated "Looking For: Mature couple or single with no children" were evidence of an effort to exclude children from housing.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to refuse to rent to a family because they have children, including posting or publishing online statements or advertisements that discriminate against families with children. Real estate companies and agents are prohibited from placing advertisements that exclude children from housing.
"Advertising that discriminates against families with children is against the law, whether it's in print or online. Real estate professionals are expected to know the law," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD is committed to protecting the right of families with children to choose housing free from illegal discrimination."
According to HUD's charge, NFHA, a fair housing organization that works to promote equal opportunity in housing, noticed the ad on Craigslist for a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. A few weeks later, NFHA saw the same ad again on Craigslist. HUD's investigation found that both ads were placed by Metro Net and its employee.
HUD's 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 aggrieved persons for the damages caused them by the discrimination.
The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose fines in order to vindicate the public interest. 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 http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDgov, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.