Sunday, April 10, 2016

HUD Spokesman: Landlord's Blatant Discrimination In Rental Ad Against Prospective Tenants Who Support Donald Trump For President Does Not Violate Fair Housing Act

In Grand Junction, Colorado, The Daily Sentinel reports:
  • For rent: Downtown apartment, 2 bedrooms. Includes organic garden space, hot tub, great backyard. You can bring your dogs if they have references as good as yours. If voting for Donald Trump, do not call.

    Supporters of The Donald aren’t welcome at Mark Holmes’ rental on Main Street, indicated by this advertisement he placed in The Nickel last week.

    The ad prompted some anonymous callers who disagreed with his political statement to leave hate messages on his voicemail.

    His reasoning behind placing the stipulation in the ad is that he doesn’t know what to do anymore about the possibility that Trump might be elected, and he’s just had it.

    “I don’t know what to do anymore about what’s going on in this country,” he said. “It’s just a mess.”

    One of the messages left by an anonymous caller claimed that Holmes was violating federal housing rules and discriminating against political affiliations.

    But that’s simply not true, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    That has nothing to do with the Fair Housing Act,” said HUD spokesman Jerry Brown, noting that he hasn’t received inquiries about similar ads. “But that seems to be a first, and it’s original.”

    Holmes said he was inspired to include the stipulation for a few reasons, including the fact that he doesn’t want to share a roof with Trump sympathizers who subscribe to Trump’s rhetoric, which has included controversial comments about banning Muslims from the country, building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants and encouraging violence at his rallies.(1)

    “He’s preaching hate and he’s preaching … a lot of venom, spit and vinegar. And I live in the top part of the house,” Holmes said. “I don’t want anybody that even thinks that Donald Trump can be a good president to live in my home.”(2)
For the story, see No Trump voters allowed (Junction landlord screens renters based on politics).
(1) Even if the Fair Housing Act did prohibit discrimination in the sale or rental of real estate to Donald Trump supporters, the landlord here would probably be in the clear anyway in that he probably qualifies for the so-called "Mrs. Murphy" exemption. Said exemption provides that a home is exempt from the application of the Fair Housing Act if the dwelling has four or fewer units and the owner lives in one of those units. See, generally, The FHA’s “Mrs. Murphy” Exemption — A 50 State Guide.

(2) Ibid.

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