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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Artifice Forces Landlord's Hand on Renting to Families With Children

A man called the managers of an Outagamie County, Wisconsin apartment he saw advertised to inquire about its availability. Apparently, after the man told one of the managers that he and his wife had children, she allegedly refused to show him the apartment.

Acting on suspicion, the man's wife decided also to call the manager about seeing the apartment, but making a point to say (inaccurately) that she and her husband had no children. Not only did the manager immediately schedule a showing, but she pressured her to see the available apartment right away, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Further testing by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council uncovered more evidence of discrimination based on familial status, which is illegal under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). For example, the manager reportedly told one tester that she's "looking for the perfect renter, meaning I don't want a lot of kids" and that she charges families with children a higher security deposit.

All this led HUD to issue a Charge of Discrimination, announced October 21, against the managers and the owner, meaning they'll need to defend themselves against alleged Fair Housing Act violations before an administrative law judge.

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