Fair Housing vs. Unfair Housing

Do you know the difference?

Knowing the difference between fair housing and unfair housing isn't as obvious as you might think. This blog aims to present a variety of important and interesting fair housing issues.

If you're an apartment professional, avoid costly mistakes by reading the stories of others who — even with good intentions — learned compliance lessons the hard way. (For the easy way, click here.)

If you live in an apartment, get familiar with your rights when it comes to housing discrimination, as well as your options for seeking justice.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Couple's Alleged Occupancy Violation Gives Birth to Familial Status Discrimination Charge

A couple lived at a 16-unit apartment complex in Albuquerque, New Mexico without a problem... until the woman got pregnant.

The tenants rented a one-bedroom apartment under a month-to-month lease, which stated that the occupancy limit is two persons per bedroom. When the landlords learned that one of the tenants became pregnant, he issued a 30-day termination notice, claiming that the couple is in violation of the occupancy limit.

The tenants complained to HUD, which on January 9, 2009 charged the landlords with discrimination based on familial status. HUD noted that the landlords didn't ask about the tenant's due date for having the child or give the tenants the opportunity to move to a two-bedroom apartment. As a result, HUD found that the tenants "suffered damages, including emotional distress, economic loss, inconvenience, and loss of a housing opportunity" and were made to "feel uncomfortable, unwanted, and frustrated."

The landlords now face possible compensatory damages and a civil penalty.

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