HUD: Fla. HOA violates "Fair Housing"
GIBSONTON, Fla. – Sept. 5, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is charging a Gibsonton, Fla., homeowners association and its Tampa-based former management company with violating the Fair Housing Act.
According to HUD, the HOA and management company subjected a family with six children to different rental terms and conditions. Overly restrictive occupancy policies may unlawfully discriminate against families with children by preventing them from living in a 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.
HUD alleges that Townhomes of Kings Lake Homeowners 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 they threatened to evict them if they didn’t reduce the number of occupants. The HOA and manager said they had a policy that allows only six people to live in a four-bedroom home.
HUD says it investigated, and a policy that allows only six people in a four-bedroom home prevents a “significant percentage of Florida families” from renting one of the homes.
According to HUD, the family signed a one-year agreement to lease a home. After they moved in, however, the Kings Lake’s manager told the family about the occupancy policies, and that they were out of compliance. Three months later, the family received a letter from the HOA’s attorney saying that 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, and the family remained in the townhouse for another year before purchasing a home and moving out.
HUD’s investigation found that the policy remains in place.
“Homeowners associations and management companies have an obligation to ensure that their occupancy standards do not violate the Fair Housing Act,” says 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.”
HUD 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, .
© 2012 Florida Realtors®