WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today it is charging a Rapid City, South Dakota, landlord with housing discrimination after she refused to rent an apartment to a woman and her daughter. According to HUD’s charge, the landlord allegedly denied housing to the family stating, “I decided to go with a bachelor. In the past, I have always rented to bachelors, that has worked best.” Read HUD’s charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to people based on sex or because they have children.
“Refusing to rent to women and families with children not only violates the law, it deprives them of scarce housing that meets their needs,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Landlords and property owners have an obligation to give every applicant a fair shot and HUD is committed to ensuring that they meet that obligation.”
HUD filed the charge on behalf of a single woman and her 17-year-old daughter who sought to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Rapid City. When the mother inquired about the unit after seeing an advertisement on Craigslist, she mentioned to the landlord that the apartment’s location was ideal because of its proximity to her daughter’s school. After submitting all required information as part of the application process, the woman received an email denial from the landlord stating her preference to rent to a bachelor.
The landlord eventually rented the unit to a single male who had no children.
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 or she may award damages to the complainants for their loss as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest. If the case is heard in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages to the complainant.
People 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 and Android devices.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.