Real Estate

No teenagers allowed: New Orleans landlord accused of discrimination

HUD charges property owner with discriminating against families with children

A New Orleans landlord stands accused of discriminating against families with children after allegedly repeatedly stating that he did not want any teenagers living on the property.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced late last week that it is charging Earmastine Nelson with housing discrimination for running a real estate ad on Craigslist that stated “NO TEENAGERS PLEASE.”

According to HUD, the ad was brought to its attention by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, a HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agency.

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center filed a complaint with HUD after spotting the “NO TEENAGERS PLEASE” ad and subsequently conducting fair housing tests.

According to HUD, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center had two different testers pose as prospective renters and ask about the unit in question.

Each tester claimed they had multiple children, including some teenagers, and the landlord told each tester that he “didn’t want a bunch of kids” in the unit.

“I don’t want any children. I don’t want any teenage children,” Nelson reportedly told one of the testers.

HUD claims that those actions violated the Fair Housing Act, which makes it unlawful to deny or limit housing because a family has children under the age of 18 and to make statements that discriminate against families with children. That includes print, broadcast or online ads that discriminate against families with children.

“Landlords do not have the right to deny a family a place to live just because they have children,” said Anna María Farías, HUD's assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity. “Today’s enforcement action reaffirms HUD’s commitment to ensuring that housing providers meet their obligation to treat all applicants for housing the same, including families with children.”

HUD’s charge will be heard by a U.S. Administrative Law Judge, unless any party in the suite chooses to have the case heard in federal district court.

“Discrimination against families with children – no matter the age – violates the law and limits the housing opportunities of those families,” said J. Paul Compton, HUD’s general counsel. “HUD will continue to take action to protect the rights of families.”

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