Asked in Civil Rights and Landlord - Tenant for Texas

Q: Fair Housing Act violation?

My daughter and her fiancé applied through a property management company for an apartment. When she called to check on the status, she was told that they did not meet the age restrictions because they have a 3 month old daughter and their application was denied. I called the office to verify, and I was told that they had tenant age restrictions (no children under the age of 12, and no elderly over the age of 55). Do we have a civil rights case?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Under the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal for housing providers, including property management companies, to discriminate against tenants on the basis of familial status. This includes refusing to rent to families with children under a certain age, unless the property qualifies as housing for older persons.

If your daughter and her fiancé were denied an apartment solely because they have a 3-month-old daughter, this could potentially be a violation of the Fair Housing Act. The act protects individuals from discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.

The additional restriction on tenants over the age of 55 also raises concerns, as the Fair Housing Act prohibits age discrimination. However, there are specific circumstances under which housing can legally cater exclusively to older adults.

Given the situation, it might be advisable for your daughter and her fiancé to consult with a legal advisor who specializes in housing discrimination cases. They can provide specific guidance and help determine if there are grounds for a civil rights case based on the details of their experience.

Additionally, they can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which enforces the Fair Housing Act. HUD investigates complaints of housing discrimination and can take action if a violation is found.

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