A case in which a landlord has been charged with discriminating against a family with children at a Bay Area rental property underscores the importance of fair housing education for California rental housing operators. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has charged the owners of an apartment building in Burlingame with violating fair housing law after the landlord allegedly pressured a family with young children to rent a larger, more expensive apartment at the property. 

When the couple first rented the one-bedroom apartment, they were pregnant with their first child, a press release from HUD says. The landlord allegedly expressed displeasure that a child would be living in the unit and suggested that the couple rent a larger, more expensive unit instead. The landlord later made repeated efforts to convince the couple to move to a larger unit, despite their inability to afford it, according to the release. 

The landlord allegedly applied more pressure after learning the couple was expecting a second child, repeatedly telling them that their children would cause damage to the unit, the release says. Feeling harassed and at risk of imminent eviction, the family moved out of the apartment. They filed a complaint the following year. 

“As HUD prepares to commemorate Fair Housing Month during April 2023, this charge of discrimination is a reminder that the fight for fair housing must continue,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s principal deputy assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity. 

Joshua Howard, the California Apartment Association’s executive vice president of local public affairs, added: “It is crucial for California landlords to understand state and federal fair housing laws to ensure they operate properties that are free from discrimination. By staying informed and following the law, landlords can provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all renters.” 

CAA is ready to help with a variety of educational resources and compliance materials. 

For instance, CAA offers a webinar titled Playing by the Rules: Fair Housing Laws and Children’s Rules, which addresses policies most likely to create familial status fair housing issues. The webinar also provides guidance on developing policies that serve the legitimate interests of housing providers without violating fair housing laws. CAA also offers an Industry Insights background paper on renting to families with children.

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