WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that it is charging a Wichita Falls, Texas landlord with violating the Fair Housing Act by publishing advertisements that discriminate against families with children. HUD alleges landlord Kay Rios posted a classified ad in a local real estate publication that read "no drugs, no pets, no children."
The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. This includes publishing print, broadcast or internet advertisements that indicate a preference or otherwise discriminates against families with children.
"Families with children have every legal right to rent a home as do those without children," said John Trasviña, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "This case should remind every landlord that the Fair Housing Act is very clear – it’s against the law to deny a person or family housing in this country simply because they have children."
The Austin Tenants’ Council filed a complaint with HUD alleging Rios violated the Fair Housing Act. The HUD charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds that discrimination has occurred, he or she may award damages to the complainant for its loss as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination, as well as payment of attorney fees.
In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest. If the case is heard in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages to the complainant.
HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate approximately 10,500 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice), (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available online. To read the full text of HUD’s complaint, visit HUD’s website.