CARRABELLE, Fla. (WTXL) - An RV park in Carrabelle is in hot water after a Maryland man files a lawsuit against the owner.
Ho-Hum RV Park is adults-only, but a lawsuit filed on November 7th says banning children violates the U.S. Fair Housing Act. The U.S. Fair Housing Act prevents people from being denied housing based on factors like race, religion, or family status.
There are exemptions in the act for communities that serve only those 55 and older, but the lawsuit says Ho-Hum is not a registered 55-and-over community.
Darrell Rogers filed the lawsuit. According to his lawyer, Rogers never had any intention of actually staying at the RV park.
"Mr. Rogers serves as a Fair Housing Act tester," said Shawn Heller, Rogers' attorney. "The tester does investigations to see where Fair Housing Act violations may be occurring. In this case, Mr. Rogers posed as potential renter, called the RV park and was told his family would not be able to stay there because they have children."
An investigation from our ABC sister station in Tampa Bay revealed Rogers and his attorney have filed dozens of these kinds of lawsuits in Florida and Washington D.C.
Some believe a private business should be able to set it's own rules, but Heller says federal housing laws still apply.
"There are a lot of RV parks in today's world [serving] as permanent dwellings and it's an area where little attention has been placed," said Heller. "We really have no idea how many families with children were either turned away by the RV park in the past or simply never bothered to reside there. It takes lawsuits like this in order to stop those policies and to make sure that the park is available to all."
The RV park owner says his attorney advised him not to appear on camera for our story, but he tells us he wants to comply with the law and hopes the lawsuit is resolved quickly.