HUD CHARGES BUFFALO AREA REAL ESTATE COMPANY AND BROKER FOR DISCRIMINATING AGAINST FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN Broker allegedly instead rented four-bedroom home to young couple
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging an Amherst, New York real estate company and one of its brokers with discriminating against families with children in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Specifically, HUD's Charge of Discrimination alleges that RE/MAX North's broker refused to rent an apartment to a family with children and refused to show another apartment to a family looking for housing.
"HUD is serious about protecting the rights of families with children to be able to rent or buy housing in all communities," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO)."While most in the housing industry get it right, HUD will vigorously enforce the law where we find discrimination."
According to HUD's charge, a mother of five children applied to rent the four-bedroom apartment in Clarence, New York, when the broker informed her that the owner of the unit was in no "shape to deal with . . . children" and had decided, instead, to rent the unit to a young couple.
The applicant reported the incident to the non-profit fair housing organization Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME). HOME sent testers posing as housing applicants with children to see how they would be treated. One tester reported that the same broker refused to show her an apartment in Tonawanda because that owner was not happy about having children in the apartment.
The HUD Charge of Discrimination will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) unless a party to the Charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If the ALJ finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, the ALJ may award damages to the injured family and to HOME, and order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest and award attorney fees. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages to aggrieved persons.
HUD and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), 800-927-9275 (TTY).
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development ad enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.