Washington D.C., May 31, 2011 -
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that USA4SALE Network, Inc., has agreed to pay $15,000 to settle claims that it violated the Fair Housing Act when it posted ads on its Web sites that discriminated against families with children. In addition, the company has also agreed to change the way its Web sites filter discriminatory language.
The settlement is the result of a complaint HUD initiated against the Ocala, Florida-based company after it allegedly printed a rental advertisement on its webpage, ocals4sale.com, that stated “No children, No kids.” The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on family status, including publishing print, broadcast or Internet advertisements that indicate a preference or otherwise discriminate against families with children.
“The Internet has revolutionized the way people search for housing and how housing providers advertise available housing. It cannot be a place to avoid the Fair Housing Act," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "This voluntary agreement will help housing providers easily meet their responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act."
According to the voluntary agreement, USA4SALE Network will develop a screening filter that will flag potentially discriminatory ads for human review and train its employees on how to comply with fair housing advertising guidelines. The agreement also calls for the network to donate $7,500 to a HUD-funded state fair housing organization and contribute another $7,500 to a HUD-approved local fair housing group to cover the cost of the group’s future fair housing advertisements.