Texas Community Accused of Discriminating Against Families with Children

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HUD recently announced it’s charging a Texas property owner and management company with discriminating against families with children. HUD alleges that the owners and its management company threatened to fine a family $250 because their two children played in the community area of the complex.

Fair housing law expressly prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of familial status, including setting restrictive terms and conditions on residents with children under 18.

HUD's charge claims that the community owners enacted a policy that required children under the age of 18 to be supervised by an adult family member while on the property, including the pool area, with violations of the policy resulting in a $250 fine. In one instance, a couple was threatened with a fine because their two children were playing in the community area while being supervised by adults who were not blood relatives, according to HUD’s charge.

"Families shouldn't be penalized for letting their kids be kids," Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. "Imposing different rules and restrictions on families because they have children is a violation of the Fair Housing Act and HUD is committed to ensuring that housing providers meet their obligations under the law."

The case will be heard in federal court. If it is determined that illegal discrimination occurred, a judge may award actual and punitive damages, issue a court order to deter further discrimination, and order that defendants pay the couple's attorney fees.

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