HUD ALJ Streb Orders $10,000 Paid in Two Cases on Denial of Rentals Above Ground Floor

HUD Administrative Law Judge Paul G. Streb has issued two consent orders in two family status cases, both for $5,000. The cases from Mann County, California and Renton, in Washington State, were settled in July. Both cases involved landlord policies against renting apartments above the ground floor to families with children.

Marin Landlord Pays for Tests

The Marin County settlement includes an agreement for the respondent to pay the Marin Fair Housing Program for three paired on-site tests each year for three years. The fair housing center will pick the dates for the tests and report the results to the landlord who will pay $350 for each test.

After a full day of hearing in February, Judge Streb invited the parties to attempt settlement. After long negotiations these and other terms were worked out between the parties without an ALJ determination.

A single mother with a minor child called about an advertised unit at Rowland Apartments owned by William Sommers. When she was unable to apply, she filed a complaint with the Marin Fair Housing Program. They received her complaint, conducted a telephone test, and counseled her.

The HUD Secretary charged that the apartment manager, M. J. Hobro, told the initial complainant and the tester "that Rowland Apartments has a policy against renting to families with children above the ground floor," and denied both callers the opportunity to apply.

The HUD ALJ ruled that the Marin Fair Housing Program is an "aggrieved person" under the Fair Housing Act which includes, "corporations, associations, and unincorporated organizations."

The landlord agreed to pay $2,000 to the Fair Housing Program (which will pay $500 to the initial complainant), $1,600 to the Marin Housing Center; and $1,400 to a charity that assists families with children.

The agreement included the standard disclaimer that the landlord admitted no violation, and that his managers would attend training sessions on fair housing law conducted by the Fair Housing Program. Nancy Kenyon, Director of the Marin Fair Housing Program, negotiated the agreement for the complainant.

[HUD ex rel Marin Fair Housing Program v. Sommers, 09-91-1200-1]
Filed with HUD 12-13-90
HUD Charge Issued 11-5-91  
ALJ Hearing 2-19-92
Order 7-13-92

Chalet Policy Keeps Kids Off Second and Third Floors

In the Renton, Washington case the complainants already lived in a one-bedroom unit on the first floor of the Chalet Apartments. They applied to move to a two-bedroom unit on the third floor where the apartments had balconies with wooden slat railings.

Complainants Ronald and Maureen Clark were living in the Chalet Apartments when they had a child. The resident manager told the Clarks that the landlord had an unwritten policy against renting apartments on the second and third floor to families with small children because of the owner's concern for the safety of the children. The complaint and the Secretary's charge both alleged this policy constituted discrimination because of family status.

The parties agreed to settle the, case for $5,000 paid to the Clarks.

[HUD as rel. Clark v. Davis, 10-94-0023-1]
Filed with HUD 10-10-89
HUD Charge Issued 2-14-92
Order 7-14-92