|HUD No. 13-101
July 2, 2013
HUD CHARGES MINNESOTA PROPERTY OWNER WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST SINGLE MOTHER AND HER DAUGHTER
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging a Jackson, Minnesota, landlord with violating the Fair Housing Act for allegedly refusing to rent an apartment to a woman and her young daughter. HUD's charge alleges that the owner refused to rent to the family because he preferred not to rent to families with children.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to refuse to rent or to impose different rental terms on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status.
"Refusing to rent housing to families with children is against the law unless the property legally qualifies as housing for older persons," said Bryan Greene, HUD's Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD will continue to take action against property owners who discriminate against prospective tenants because of their family status."
According to HUD's charge, the woman contacted the owner after seeing an advertisement in a local newspaper for a one-bedroom apartment. When she told the owner that the unit was for her and her one-year-old daughter, the owner allegedly said that he had rented to families before and it "just doesn't work."
During HUD's investigation, the owner admitted that he told the woman he preferred to rent the apartment to adults, not families with children. Two weeks after turning the woman down, the owner rented the apartment to an applicant without minor children. The lease included a provision limiting the unit to one person only.
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 the family. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to prevent 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.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD's free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
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.