WASHINGTON, DC – September 4, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging a Gibsonton, FL, homeowners association and its Tampa-based former management company with violating the Fair Housing Act by subjecting a family to different rental terms and conditions because they have six children. HUD’s charge alleges that Townhomes of Kings LakeHomeowners Association (HOA), Inc., and Vanguard Management Group, Inc., violated the Fair Housing Act by telling the family that they had too many people living in their rental townhouse and threatening to evict them if they didn’t reduce the number of occupants based on an occupancy policy that permitted only six people to live in a four-bedroom home.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to deny housing or impose different rental terms and conditions based on disability, race, national origin, color, religion, sex, or familial status. Overly restrictive occupancy policies may unlawfully discriminate against families with children by preventing them from living in a home.
HUD’s investigation revealed that Kings Lake HOA’s occupancy policy prevents a significant percentage of Florida families from living in its housing.The occupancy ordinance in Hillsborough County, which includes Gibsonton, would permit up to eleven occupants in the townhome.
“Homeowners associations and management companies have an obligation to ensure that their occupancy standards do not violate the Fair Housing Act,” said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is committed to taking action against anyone who unlawfully denies housing to families because of the number of children in the family.”
According to HUD’s charge, the family signed a one-year agreement to lease a home at the Townhomes of Kings Lake development. After the family moved in, Kings Lake’s manager told the family about the homeowners association’s occupancy policies and stated that the family’s six children made them out of compliance with the policy. Three months later, the family received a letter from the homeowners association’s attorney informing them that King’s Lake would begin eviction proceedings if they didn’t comply with the county’s occupancy standards within 30 days. The HOA agreed to stay the eviction while HUD investigated the family’s complaint. The family remained in the townhouse for another year before purchasing a home and moving out. HUD’s investigation revealed that the policy remains in place.
HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, with its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program, investigates approximately 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they have experienced or witnessed unlawful housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice), or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). More information about fair housing rights is available at HUD’s website, www.hud.gov/fairhousing.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s News Listserv.