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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Landlord Wouldn't Let Teenager Have Friends Over Without Mother Present

Viable familial status discrimination claims don't have to involve a landlord who refuses to rent to families with children. Often enough, landlords who say they'll rent to families with children but impose certain restrictions on those families also find themselves in fair housing trouble.

A recent example is a Wisconsin landlord who admitted to placing guest restrictions only on tenants with children, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Charge of Discrimination announced today (issued July 12).

After approving a single mother and her 17-year-old son for tenancy and accepting a deposit, he allegedly told the mother she would need to agree to a lease restriction requiring her to be present whenever her son had visitors. The landlord indicated he has had problems in the past with teenagers and also cited a tip from another tenant claiming that the son was a "bad kid" who had been in "trouble."

The mother insisted the tenant's claim is unfounded and suggested the landlord call the police for proof. But the landlord stood firm, leading the mother to file a complaint with HUD alleging Fair Housing Act (FHA) violations. An administrative law judge will now hear the case.

Do you agree with the Charge? Should a landlord ever be allowed to impose restrictions on families with children aimed at controlling teenagers' behavior while in their apartments?

What do you think?


Property Tax Loans said...

I think landlords should be able to impose such restrictions if they want to. After all, they are the ones who own the house and the son is not an adult yet. The mother has a right to sign the agreement or to not sign it. That being said, it is a bit extreme and he will have time finding tenants that will sign with the restriction.

Anonymous said...

Being that I have been in the business long enough to know that you cannot believe everything people say I don't think this is fair of the landlord. What one person says about the child might not necessary hold true to the actual behavior that the child is exhibiting. I would be furious if such a request was made to me and I find it to be offensive at the very least. Move them in, if they pose a problem then deal with it accordingly. What if the kid just wants someone to come over and play video games with him? And if he didn't have this company then he would be out breaking branches off tree limbs and climbing mailboxes or something.

Apartment Renter said...

Boy howdy this is a sticky situation. I've been on the board of directors for the Apartment Association in my town and overseen many tenant/landlord disputes. I can really see both sides. But I think you'd have to err on the side of the tenant - at lease the children have a (I'm assuming) safe place to stay at that point.

Anonymous said...

I believe a Landlord should be able to insert such clauses in the Lease. A clause requiring an adult (21) be present for teenagers to visit.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe that this is fair of the Landlord to do. If it is not something that is listed in their lease then they should not be allowed to impose on people's lives like that. I think the tenant did the right thing.