Michael N. and Fonda W. Parker, landlords based in Richmond Hill, are facing charges from the The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on the grounds that they are violating the terms of the Fair Housing Act. HUD’s role is to ensure that affordable housing is available without discrimination and that communities are both inclusive and sustainable.
The Fair Housing Act outlaws discrimination against families that have children under 18 years of age unless the accommodation is specifically exempted as housing for elders. The couple, who are the landlords of an apartment block in the area, have been accused of refusing to rent to families with children, setting different terms and conditions on families looking to rent, and making discriminatory statements.
The position of HUD is clear; that it is not lawful to deny housing to families with children and the body has confirmed that it will continue to take action against those landlords who refuse to comply with the Act which expressly prohibits this form of discrimination.
The Parker’s actions were brought to the attention of HUD by a mother of two children. She filed a complaint alongside the Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Council. The complaint stated that the business voicemail explicitly told callers that their policy was to only allow a certain number of children depending on unit size.
The case is due to be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge although each party may opt to have the case transferred to federal court. If the finding is that discrimination has taken place then damages may be awarded to the claimants for any losses they have incurred as a result of discrimination. There is also the provision for the judge to order injunctive or equitable relief, attorney fees, and civil penalties should the case for discrimination be proved.
Read the full charge here: