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Forum News Service, Published July 04 2013

Property owner accused of bias against single mom, daughter

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced this week that it is charging Jackson, Minn., landlords with violating the Fair Housing Act for allegedly refusing to rent an apartment to a woman and her young daughter.

According to a release from HUD, the Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to refuse to rent or to impose different rental terms on the basis of familial status.

The complaint is against Bradford Strom and Sarah Strom. According to the charges, the complainant moved to Jackson in July 2012 and began to look for rental housing. When she told the manager that the unit was for her and her 1-year-old daughter, he allegedly said he had rented to families before and it “just doesn’t work.”

According to HUD, Bradford Strom admitted during the investigation that he told the woman he preferred to rent the apartment to adults, not families with children. Two weeks after turning the woman down, the apartment was rented to an applicant without minor children, and the lease included a provision limiting the unit to one person only.

HUD’s charge will be heard by a U.S. administrative law judge, unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the family.