Imagine you’re a young woman and you come home every day to an angry boyfriend. Sometimes he’s drinking, sometimes he’s sober, but most of the time, he’s just angry. He yells, he screams, and sometimes he even hits. This is a reality for many people, both male and female, that suffer as victims of domestic violence.
Now imagine that you get brave enough one day to call 911 for police to intervene. And maybe you have to call another few times as things settle down.
Fast forward a bit, and it’s time to renew the lease on your apartment and the landlord refuses because of the police presence at your home. Now, you’re a recovering victim of domestic violence and you’re being punished for having needed help to resolve your victimization.
On top of all of this, you start your rental search, and another landlord refuses to rent to you because the cops were called to your home as you were being beaten.
This really happened
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has settled with the owners and managers of two Berlin, New Hampshire properties, allegedly having refused to rent to a woman who was a victim of domestic violence for a total of $13,550 due to the victim.
The landlords will undergo fair housing training and will be monitored by HUD as they attempt to be in compliance with the Violence Against Women Act and all Fair Housing laws pertaining to public and federally-funded housing.
“No woman should be denied housing based on her status as a domestic violence survivor,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD remains committed to ensuring and promoting fair housing opportunities for women and men alike.”
HUD notes, “The agreement is the result of two complaints filed by a woman with HUD in December 2013. In the first complaint, the woman alleged that TKB Properties and the New England Family Housing Management Organization refused to renew her lease because of police visits responding to her domestic violence-related 911 calls. The second complaint arose when the woman was searching for another home after her lease was not renewed, alleging that landlord Michael Warren refused to rent her an apartment based on the previous domestic violence-related police visits.”
From a landlord’s point of view, it is troubling to have the police on your property frequently, but from a renter’s perspective, being beat up is worry enough – being punished and losing your home over it must be crushing.