A Springfield landlord was ordered to pay $43,500 in damages and penalties for refusing to lease an apartment to pregnant women or families with small children.
The landlord’s lease agreement stated that “Children under (6) years old are not allowed to reside in the premises.”
It also required perspective tenants to acknowledge the following:
No one is pregnant in the family.
If someone living on the premises becomes pregnant they will vacate the premises prior to the birth of baby.
Tenant will not permit any day care or babysitting during the day or evening for any children under 6 years of age.
The jury found that these provisions, along with the landlord’s repeated enforcement of them, constituted a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
The Act states that
it shall be unlawful…to refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.
See 42 U.S. Code § 3604.
The full text of the court’s decision is on the Justice Department’s website.