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HUD Settles Discrimination Complaint

HUD announced the latest development in its effort to crack down on discriminatory housing practices Thursday.

The department reached a settlement agreement in cooperation with the  Connecticut Fair Housing Center (CFHC) with respondents Lil-1 Associates, AllPoints Realty, and realtor Lillian Polak stemming from allegations that they published discriminatory listings and advertisements for condominiums stating that children were not permitted in the units, in violation of federal law.

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to refuse to sell or rent housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status.  This includes refusing to allow families with children under eighteen. There is an exception if the property qualifies as housing for older persons.

“Refusing to sell or rent housing to families with children is against the law unless the property meets the very specific requirements of housing for older persons,” said Bryan Greene, HUD's General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to enforce the Fair Housing Act and ensure that real estate brokers and agents do not illegally limit the housing options of families because they have children.”

According to the complaint filed by CFHC, an organization that receives HUD funds to investigate Fair Housing complaints, the respondents placed internet ads with the Multiple Listing Service specifying that children were not allowed to live in the properties in question. The complaint also alleges that the no child policy was communicated verbally to a CFHC employee posing as a potential buyer.

Under the terms of the agreement, the respondents will pay CFHC $24,375.00 in damages. AllPoints also agreed to compel its employees to attend fair housing training, and to describe itself as an equal opportunity housing provider in future advertisements. The company also agreed to apprise any property owners in future business dealings that seeking to list rentals or sales with limitations against families with children that doing so is a violation of the Fair Housing Act.  Lil-1 Associates has since ceased operations.

About Author: Derek Templeton

Derek Templeton is an attorney based in Dallas, Texas. He practices in the areas of real estate, financial services, and general corporate transactional law. His experience includes time as an Attorney Adviser for the U.S. Small Business Administration and as General Counsel for a nonprofit organization in Dallas. A self-avowed "policy junkie," he has a keen interest in the effect that evolving federal policy has on the mortgage, default servicing, and greater housing industries.

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