Restrictions on Kids Spark Lawsuit Against Landlord

by Chris on October 22, 2018

A Texas landlord and property management company are facing a discrimination lawsuit over restrictions they placed on children.

Those restrictions resulted in the manager levying a fine of $250 — one half of one month’s rent — on the parents of two children, ages 5 and 7. The children were being supervised by other adults while they played at the property, but the owner had adopted a policy that children needed to be supervised at all times by blood relatives. The family was threatened with eviction if the fine was not paid immediately.

HUD brought a lawsuit on behalf of the family. The complaint alleges that the owner and management company adopted house rules governing common areas that were discriminatory, including:

A curfew on children under 18 being allowed in common areas at night unless accompanied by an adult;
Restrictions on pool use for anyone under 18 without supervision by “parents or guardians” or an adult authorized in writing to supervise;
A mandate that tenants with children must ensure children never leave apartments “unnoticed” by using “keyless deadbolts, pin locks and window latches”;
A requirement that all children be supervised by blood relatives; and
Imposing fines and threatening police intervention for violations.

Enforcing different rules and restrictions on families because they have children is a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Anna María Farías comments, “Families shouldn’t be penalized for letting their kids be kids.”

If the lawsuit is successful, the landlord and manager could be ordered to pay damages — including punitive damages — to the tenants, a civil penalty to the government, and may be required to adopt new policies, undergo fair housing training, and report periodically to HUD.

J. Paul Compton, HUD’s General Counsel adds, “HUD will continue to take action to protect the rights of families.”

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Christin October 26, 2018 at 9:41 pm

My question is how can a landlord evict after another tenant (not neighbor or even same dwelling, but same complex) complains of simple walking, talking, being a kid, around outside on the crosswalk by children? They literally have a “24 hour no noise policy” where I live of which we do our best to comply. Don’t throw parties & don’t even own a sterio any longer upon move in. But this guy (other tenant on oposit part of the property) harasses my 12 year old & reported lies or over reacts to our landlord that got us evicted. My kid should be able to get home from school or go to his friends unit. He should be able to talk & laugh & play. How can apartments false advertise as family living & all these great amenities like a pool & park for kids if we literally signed a “24 hr no noise policy”? Is that even legal in a family residence? I though only an assisted living facility or hospital would be 24 hour no noise. Nit a place that offers a damn park & pool!

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