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

Rental Reneging Reveals Racial Rancor

Landlords who don't want to rent to people of a particular race normally turn away the prospects early on. But owners of a single-family three-bedroom house in Gibsonton, Florida agreed to rent their house to a black mother and her three children and let them move in without incident. Two days after the move, however, the landlords apparently had a change of heart and reacted in a way that, the tenants claim, violated the Fair Housing Act's (FHA) ban on race-based discrimination.

According to the Charge of Discrimination issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and announced this month, the landlords refused to accept the family's rent payment, awoke the children and ordered them out of the house in their night clothes while their mother was at work, and changed the locks. Fortunately, a relative later found the children under a highway underpass, in shock, exhausted, and visibly upset, according to the HUD Charge.

When the mother learned about what happened, she contacted the police to report it and regain access to the house. The landlords allegedly hurled racial epithets at the mother, expressing their disbelief that she called the police.

Following the HUD Charge, an administrative law judge will hear the case to determine whether the family should be compensated for claimed damages, including economic losses, out-of-pocket expenses, emotional and physical distress, loss of a housing opportunity, embarassment, humiliation, substantial inconvenience, and more.

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