New Fair Housing Complaint Seeks to Tackle Discrimination Against Families with Children
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2023
Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org (NFHA); email@example.com (SWFHC)
Washington, D.C. — Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Southwest Fair Housing Council (SWFHC) in Arizona, and three tenants filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) alleging “X Co.” discriminates against families with children. X Co. is a Chicago, IL-based real estate developer and operator, and is behind “X,” which it describes on its website as “the first and largest branded network of member clubs and private residences in the country.” X Co. currently owns and operates “X” multi-family housing facilities in Phoenix, AZ, and Denver, CO, and advertises four other communities scheduled to open in 2023 and 2024 in Denver, CO; Houston, TX; Oakland, CA; and Tampa, FL.
According to the investigation, X Club facilities are housed within the residential building and include the pool, fitness room, community areas, and other amenities commonly included with tenancy at multi-family residential properties. Additionally, residents at X Co. receive complimentary access to the X Club facilities, which is provided for in the lease agreement. However, the X Denver community website states that children are not allowed at X Club facilities. When testers contacted X Denver in the first two quarters of 2022 , they were told that, as residents, their children would not be able to use these facilities.
“Families with children shouldn’t be excluded from access to housing and its accompanying amenities. Yet, this form of discrimination sadly exists in too many communities and , in some cases, became more pervasive during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lisa Rice, President and CEO of NFHA. “In fact, the fourth most frequent basis of discrimination in 2021 was familial status, according to NFHA’s 2022 Fair Housing Trends Report. There were 2,261 familial status discrimination complaints filed with fair housing groups and HUD. Because most people experiencing discrimination don’t file complaints, this is just the tip of the iceberg. By filing this complaint against X Co., we are working to root out housing discrimination and ensure all families have fair access to housing and associated opportunities.”
While the investigation was in progress, three X Phoenix residents separately reported to SWFHC that X Co. employees informed them orally and in writing that children were prohibited from using the common areas and amenities provided for in their leases. On October 4, 2022, X Co. staff allegedly sent an email to all X Phoenix residents stating the restriction, and actively enforced the policy. The company went as far as to seek legal action against one tenant who brought their infant to the pool.
“I am shocked when a company like X Co. blatantly and repeatedly flouts state and federal fair housing laws. Unfortunately, 55 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, housing discrimination is still all too common in Arizona. Housing providers must be held accountable so that all families are free to live where they choose,” said Jay Young, Executive Director of the Southwest Fair Housing Council.
Under the Fair Housing Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against families with children. The law also prohibits housing services providers from offering different rental terms or conditions to consumers based on whether they have children. It is also unlawful to retaliate against any person because that person reported a discriminatory practice to a housing provider or other authority. Any former, current, or prospective resident of X Co. who might have experienced discrimination or retaliation should contact NFHA or SWFHC immediately to report it.
The investigation was supported, in part, with funding from a Private Enforcement Initiative grant received from HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program.
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal housing opportunities for all people. As the trade association for over 170 fair housing and justice-centered organizations and individuals throughout the U.S. and its territories, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.
The Southwest Fair Housing Council (SWFHC) was established in 1986. We are a non-profit, tax-exempt fair housing organization based in Tucson, Arizona that provides services throughout Arizona. SWFHC advocates for and facilitates the enforcement of the Federal and State Fair Housing Acts in addition to the Non-discriminatory Ordinances of different Arizonan municipalities. SWFHC’s mission is to provide comprehensive services to achieve and preserve equal access to housing for all people.