HUD CHARGES MISSOURI HOUSING PROVIDERS WITH HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

Charge alleges that property owner refused to rent to tenant because he has children

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging Daniel J. Felder and Andrea Williams, as co-guardians and conservators of the Felder Peter King Estate of Ward Protectee, the Estate, and Eric Felder, the owners and property manager of duplex and triplex apartments in St. Charles, Missouri, with housing discrimination for allegedly refusing to rent an apartment to a prospective tenant because he has two children. Read HUD’s charge.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to families with children under the age of 18.

“Families today face enough challenges without being denied a place to call home because they have children,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.  “Today’s action reaffirms HUD’s commitment to ensuring that housing providers meet their obligation to treat all home seekers equally, including those with children.”

The case came to HUD’s attention when the father of two filed a complaint alleging that he was denied the opportunity to rent an apartment because he has young children. The father claimed that he reached out to the property manager about the unit and told the manager that his young son and daughter would be living with him.  HUD’s charge alleges that, subsequent to that conversation, the manager informed the father that he could not rent the unit, saying his boss “gave me a firm ‘No.’ She’s against little kids in such a small place.” As a result, the father was forced to rent a more expensive unit in the area.

“Housing providers are required by law to rent to families with children. HUD will enforce the law to ensure that families with children can get the housing they need,” said Damon Smith, HUD General Counsel.

HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, the judge may award damages to the complainant for losses that have resulted from the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages.

People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to hud.gov/fairhousing.