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newspaperHUD says the owners of a Shelby Township, MI, apartment complex have agreed to pay $100,000 to resolving allegations that the propertys on-site manager refused to rent to families with children.

The case came to HUDs attention when the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit (FHCMD), a non-profit fair housing organization that receives HUD funding, filed a complaint with HUD alleging that testing they conducted revealed that the property manager refused to rent to families with children.

The complaint followed a series of fair housing tests conducted by FHCMD. In several of the tests, the property manager allegedly told testers that the complex was a community for persons 55 years of age and older and that she could not accommodate persons with children.

Although the Fair Housing Act was amended in 1988 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and familial status, Congress intended to preserve housing specifically designed to meet the needs of senior residents. Housing that meets the Fair Housing Act’s definition of housing for older persons is exempt from the law’s familial status requirements, provided that:

HUD has determined that the dwelling is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government program; or,
It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older; or,
It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

Housing that satisfies the legal definition of senior housing or housing for older persons described above, can legally exclude families with children.

Under the terms of the agreement, the property owner will pay $100,000 to FHCMD, develop and implement new policies, standards and procedures that do not discriminate against prospective tenants because of their family status or race, meet the requirements of the Housing for Older Persons Act if claiming to be senior housing, and provide fair housing training for its property manager.

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