A cottage community affiliated with the United Methodist Church cannot bar non-Christians from buying and owning homes as it’s not exempt from fair housing laws, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has ruled.
The Michigan-based Bay View Association, founded in the 19th century as part of a spiritual revival movement, hasn’t been able to prove it’s exempt from the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits religious discrimination for housing, HUD said in a letter to the community, according to The Hill.
“The investigation into the violations alleged by the Complainants shall now commence,” the letter added.
HUD says it received at least 15 complaints against Bay View in 2016 over its policy.
The association had been arguing that it’s a religious organization and could therefore have exclusive home ownership rules.
The association was sued last summer, and the plaintiffs included current Bay View residents whose family members cannot inherit their homes and others who cannot buy a home in the community, both due to religious differences.
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Source: Christian Post