The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it has reached an agreement with the owners/managers of a Denver-area apartment complex, resolving complaints of discrimination. The apartment complex, The Orchards at Cherry Creek Apartments in Centennial, was charged with discrimination after refusing to allow children to play outside.
"A requirement of constant parental supervision of all minors, and even teenagers, is oppressive, unnecessary, and unfairly burdensome on families with children," said Bryan Greene, HUD's acting assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "The Fair Housing Act protects the rights of families with children to enjoy the same housing amenities that others do."
HUD filed a Secretary-Initiated Complaint in November 2013, alleging that the complex unfairly restricted the activities of children. The rule in question was published in the complex’s monthly newsletter, which read:
"All children must be supervised by an adult at all times while playing outside. No sports activities, skateboarding, roller-blading, or general extracurricular activities are to take place in our community. If we see anyone violating any of the above activities or see any unsupervised children they will be sent home immediately."
According to the Fair Housing Act, the action was discriminatory in that it "prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. This includes setting restrictive rules on families with children," HUD said.
Per the terms of the agreement with The Orchards, property managers will design and build a $10,000 play area, which will also be accessible for persons with disabilities. The timeframe for the project is six months.
Additionally, all employees will attend fair housing training within a year, and the company will amend its policies to comply with the Fair Housing Act, and distribute the new rules to its employees and residents.