The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that it is charging the owners and manager of a condominium complex in Gunnison, CO, with refusing to rent to persons under 35 years of age in violation of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on familial status. The charge further alleges that the condominium management team refused to rent a unit to a fair housing tester who claimed to have a four-year-old child. Read HUD’s charge.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to deny or limit housing because a family has children under the age of 18 or to make statements that discriminate against families with children.
“It’s difficult enough for families to find suitable housing without having their options further limited because they have children,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s action reinforces HUD’s commitment to taking appropriate action against housing providers that engage in unlawful practices.”
The case came to HUD’s attention when Denver Metro Fair Housing Center, a HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agency, filed a complaint alleging that the owners of the condominium complex discriminated against families with children when they posted ads in a local newspaper. HUD’s charge alleges that the ads described the complex as a “private, restricted adult … community” where renters must be 35 years or older. The charge further alleges that the condominium management team refused to rent a unit to a fair housing tester who claimed to have a four-year-old child.
“The Fair Housing Act has prohibited ‘adult-only’ housing since 1989. HUD will enforce the law against housing providers that unlawfully keep out families with children,” said Paul Compton, HUD’s General Counsel.
The charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he or she may award damages to the complainant for its losses as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order other injunctive or equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties to vindicate the public interest.
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).