Rental Ad Sparks Investigation

by | Oct 23, 2017 | Rental Property Management Tips

The landlords of a three-unit building in Pittsburgh currently are facing a discrimination claim after allegedly posting rental ads stating, “Not suitable for children/pets.”

The charge, filed by HUD, alleges that a local fair housing office noticed the ads posted in Craigslist, and then sent in a series of testers — people posing as rental applicants — to investigate the landlords.

In one case, a male who called about a vacancy was told the unit was available. After the tester added that he had a pregnant wife and small child, he allegedly was told the second-floor unit was “unsuitable for children” because there was a commercial unit below, and that “it wouldn’t work out for either of us.” The applicant then allegedly was referred to another apartment complex.

A second tester, pretending to be a married man with no children, allegedly was told the unit was available. The tester was warned that there was a “no kids” policy.

A third tester posed as a married, pregnant mother with a toddler. The tester spoke with a landlord over the phone. The tester allegedly was told that the landlords would “rather not” have children because the unit was located above the leasing office and noise from children could be disruptive, the unit did not have a yard, and there was busy traffic nearby. The tester with no children was told that the traffic was not that bad.

A fourth tester who claimed to have a four-year-old was told that the unit was located too close to the stairs, that there was no yard, and that the applicant should apply for housing at a nearby apartment complex.

Two other testers, claiming to be married but with no children allegedly were told that the unit was available and those applicants were invited to tour the property.

The charge does not indicate whether the landlords spoke with any actual rental applicants in addition to the six testers.

If the government proves its case, the landlords may be forced to pay damages to the fair housing agency conducting the investigation, fines, and possibly attorney fees and costs.

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).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

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.

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