D&D Realty Management Has Some Explainin’ to Do…
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has charged a Providence real estate management company with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent to families with children. The case started following the filing of a complaint against the realty group after an undercover renter reported texts stating children were not allowed in the apartments. Here’s how undercover renters helped root out discrimination in Providence, Rhode Island.
The Case Details
HUD accused D&D Realty Management, owned by Augustino Delfarno Jr. and Ashley Powers, of stating that they could not have children at the property and refusing to show available units to Fair Housing testers posing as prospective tenants with children. The complaint identifies Delfarno as a member of D&D Realty. Powers is the property manager and the “contact” with whom the testers communicated.
The case surfaced after D&D Realty Management LLC posted a Facebook advertisement for "completely remodeled student apartments" on Oakland Avenue in Providence, according to HUD, which announced the charges.
The charge alleges that when testers contacted D&D Realty Management to inquire about units and mentioned they had children, they were told on several occasions that they couldn't have children in the apartments. The testers provided a text exchange from June 2019 between Powers and the tester. The tester told Powers she was a college student with full custody of her daughter.
After Powers agreed to schedule a tour, Powers later sent a text saying, “Hi Taylor! I’m sorry but I just spoke with my Dad (Augustino Delfarno) and unfortunately we can’t have any children living at the apartments. I’m sorry,” the complaint says.
On top of this evidence, testers without children who applied for housing were shown available units and offered the opportunity to rent. If the administrative judge finds that discrimination was used, then the judge may award damages to the complainant for losses that have resulted from the discrimination. In addition, the judge can impose civil penalties on D&D Realty.
Affordable Housing & Rhode Island
Rhode Island is facing a serious affordable housing crisis that will soon impact more than just low-income homes. If the state doesn’t address it soon, the lack of affordable housing will only get worse, creating a domino effect of damages.
A recent report by The Commission of Health Advocacy and Equity highlights the growing issue of Rhode Island’s affordable housing stock. The report found that there are no communities with sufficient low-income housing units. Most communities have one affordable housing unit for every five eligible households.
The sale price of a single-family home climbed 12.6% this year, and access to affordable housing is projected to get worse. Most often, families in need of affordable housing are left with little-to-no options as multiple-bedroom units come with higher rental rates than a single-bedroom unit.
How You Can Help Your Community
If you or your client believe you’ve experienced or witnessed discrimination, file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at 800.669.9777. Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to HUD’s website.