HRC Familial Status Case - Steering

Housing Rights Center (HRC) as part of its HUD funded Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) Private Enforcement Initiative Project, settled a $19,000 lawsuit on behalf of a prospective tenant who was denied housing because he had children.
The prospective tenant, a married man with two children, contacted HRC after he was informed by the property owner that his family could not rent the available 3-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica because his children were a liability.
HRC conducted an investigation at the property and confirmed that applicants without children were given preferential treatment when inquiring about available rental units. HRC’s investigation included telephone rental tests conducted by volunteer testers who posed as prospective tenants. While testers without children were immediately provided with rental information, including the contact number for the on-site manager, testers with children were forced to repeatedly make telephone calls to the property owner in order to obtain necessary rental information. On one occasion, a tester was informed that the property owner would need to personally meet his children before determining if his family could live at the property.
HRC also interviewed current residents and confirmed that a tenant with children had been told by the property owner that had the property owner known she and her husband would later move in their children they would not have been offered the apartment. 
“Denying families with children the right to obtain the housing of their choice is not only an egregious act, but it is against the law,” stated Stephanie Knapik, Director of the HRC FHIP Project. “There is never an excuse to single out children.” 

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