South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Housing Leases Not Subject to ECOA Provisions about Public Assistance
Description Appeals court held that a tenant who applied to lease an apartment that would be partly paid for by public assistance, and was refused because the landlord would not accept public assistance payments, had no case under ECOA as it was not a credit transaction.
Topic Consumer Protection
Key Words Equal Credit Opportunity Act; Apartment Rental; Credit Transaction
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Laramore applied to lease an apartment. She told the leasing company that she would use a "Section 8 Voucher" to pay a portion of the rent. That voucher provides federal rent assistance for low-income persons. The leasing company said it did not accept such vouchers. Laramore sued the leasing company for violating the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) by refusing to consider public assistance as part of her income to cover the rent. The trial court dismissed the suit, holding that a rental application is not a credit transaction covered by the ECOA. Laramore appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. A residential lease is not a credit transaction as that term is defined in the ECOA. The refusal of the management company to provide Laramore with an application based on her receipt of Section 8 assistance is not subject to the ECOA's prohibition of discrimination against those who receive public assistance when they enter into a credit transaction.

Citation Laramore v. Ritchie Realty Management Co., 397 F.3d 544 (7th Cir., 2005)

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