Saturday, September 10, 2011

Single Wisconsin Mom Claims She Was Refused Home Rental Because She "Lacked a Man of the House"

A Wisconsin landlady violated the Fair Housing Act when she refused to rent a house to a single mother because, among other things, she did not have a man "to shovel the snow," the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is alleging in a lawsuit on behalf of the mom.

The name of the single mother was blackened out in a public release of the lawsuit. But HUD alleges the woman asked property manager Darlene Dovenberg about renting a La Crosse County, Wis., home and was informed that she would not be able to see the property because she did not have a man around the house.

HUD said that Dovenberg admitted that a single woman would not be able to handle the home's seclusion or required snow removal, and she didn't want the prospective renter calling her to help fix things or to plow her out.

Dovenberg, however, told that safety was her main concern and she was unaware at the time of the federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex or race.

"The woman called me and said she'd like to move in with her baby," Dovenberg said. "And that house is deep in the woods and has a treacherous driveway. It would have put the woman and her child in harm's way." more