The Craigslist ad, entitled "Winter Special Price for Two Adults," got the owner of four multifamily buildings containing 91 apartments into hot water because it appears to indicate a preference for renters who do not have children, in violation of the Fair Housing Act's (FHA) ban on discrimination based on familial status.
The Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia (FHCSP) filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which has issed a Charge of Discrimination following an investigation that uncovered evidence that the landlord charges same-size households more rent if one of the occupants is a child.
For example, the landlord told an FHCSP tester she would have to pay $35-per-month above the advertised price for a two-bedroom apartment because of her preschool-age son. When another tester asked if having a child would pose a problem, the landlord explained, "It's just going to be higher," according to the Charge.
A HUD administrative law judge is expected to hear the case.
Interesting to note:
- In addition to a claim of direct discrimination, HUD is claiming that the landlord's offering of more favorable rental terms to households that have only one or two people is discriminatory because it has a "disparate impact" on families with children, arguing that they usually make up larger households.
What do you think?