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“Winter Special Price for Two Adults”

kids handsThe owner and manager of an apartment house in Phoenixville, PA, has been charged with making discriminatory statements.

He is accused of running Craigslist ads indicating a preference against children, and then requiring higher rent when families with kids applied. One of the ads stated, “Winter Special Price for Two Adults.”

Testers posing first as childless couples, then as families with children allegedly caught the landlord imposing different rental charges for the same units.

“Charging higher rent to a family because they have children unjustly saddles them with an extra financial burden and violates the Fair Housing Act,” said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take swift action against owners and landlords who impose different terms and conditions on families with children.”

According to the complaint, the local housing authority noticed the ads on Craigslist and in the local newspaper, indicating that families with children were being charged higher rents than same-size households without children.  The landlord then allegedly told a tester posing as a mother with a son that she would have to pay $775 for a two-bedroom apartment that had been advertised as renting for $740. Later that same day, he told a different tester posing as a married woman with no children that a two-bedroom apartment rented for $745 a month.

During a different test, the landlord told a tester posing as a married woman with no children that a two-bedroom apartment was $740 a month. Later that day, a tester posing as a mother with a child contacted him about a two-bedroom apartment. When the tester asked if having a child was going to be a problem, he allegedly said, “It’s just going to be higher at $775 a month.”

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  • George in NY

    What about charging extra for extra occupants, regardless of age? For example, a 2 BR unit normally renting for $900 with three occupants, and adding $25/mo. each for a 4th or 5th occupant to cover the cost of additional water/hot water, garbage, general wear and tear?

  • Ron in Colorado

    Hey George in NY. Sound great!
    More people in a rental unit, more money it costs the landlord. Sounds fair!

    Only one problem with that.

    The people who run the govt are deaf, dumb, blind and can’t smell!!
    But they are real good at covering it up by listening with their MOUTH!

    Just watch CSPAN for about .1 seconds.

  • cranky landlord

    George- that’s a great question. My understanding is that you can’t charge extra so the situation makes it to discourage children from moving in. However, there should be no issue as far as charging adults over 18 extra. It’s very murky waters. The manager in this article is obviously either just plain stupid, or very inexpierinenced in the rental market. No wonder he got busted.

  • Bob

    So long as you don’t discriminate… I say the price for my 2-BR unit is, say $750, that is for up to 2 ‘people’ living in the unit. The price increase $25 for each additional ‘resident’, up to a total of 4 ‘residents”. I don’t care if they are adults or children – for the add’l rent amount. So long as each ‘person’ aged 18 and over who will be residing in the unit completes my applicaiton and is ‘accepted’, the total number of people living in it is the total number. I also state on the lease when issued, the total number of people who can legally ocupy the apt is ‘x’, including ‘x’ number of individuals under the age of 18, and who have applied for and been accpeted to occupy the premises. This way I have a stated number of folks in my unit, it also says a total number that are ‘minors’, and hence I don’t/shouldn’t have applicaitons on them. This is not discriminating. It it were 4 adults living int eh unit, I get $800. If it were a single person, $750. A mom & dad and one child, $775. Mom, Dad and 2 kids, same $800. I am not discriminating based on the age of the person. The guy in the story, shouldn’t be a landlord.

  • gary

    Just had a single mother with a 7 year old move out.
    “Kid” related damage was extensive.
    I have a question perhaps someone can answer. We can’t charge more rent because of children, but can we legally demand a higher security deposit?

  • cranky landlord

    gary- No because that would not treat them “equally”. However, you can charge an extra deposit for a pet (as long as you charge the same for every applicant) 🙂

  • jbateni

    HUD has a standard for occupancy. 2 people per bedroom and one extra for the unit. a two bedroom apt. would legally hold 5 people. Any more than that is overcrowding according to HUD.

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