Wis. Woman Owes $15K For Not Renting To Single Mom

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — A western Wisconsin landlord has agreed to pay $15,000 to a single mother after denying her a rental property because she didn’t have a man to help shovel the snow.

A La Crosse Tribune report says the settlement was filed Friday between the mother and landlord Darlene Dovenberg of West Salem.

The mother filed a complaint with federal housing officials alleging that Dovenberg refused to rent her the rural Bangor home. Dovenberg later rented it to two men.

Dovenberg didn’t immediately return a message left Saturday by The Associated Press. But she told AP in September the complaint mischaracterized her intentions. She says the home is in a remote part of La Crosse County with poor cellphone reception, and she was worried about the woman’s safety.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • MAJ

    I feel sorry for all the hoops property owners have to jump thru……

  • A competent woman

    My God! What is wrong with you people?! The story says a single Mom. It does not say she’s a Democrat. It does not say she’s on welfare. It does not say how many kids she has, or by how many fathers. How do you know anything about her, other than she was discriminated against?!

    She may be a widow. Her husband may have died fighting in Iraq or Afganistan. He could have been killed in an automobile crash. He may have died from pancreatic cancer. She may be 20, 30, 40, or 50 years old. She may have a well-paying job. Maybe her husband was killed on the job and she received an accidental death benefit settlement. Maybe she’s from a rural area and wants to live out in the country. She may fish and hunt – and be capable of handling a firearm. She may own something she can plow the driveway with, or a friend or relative that could come over and clear her driveway. She may even have enough of her own money to pay someone to plow for her. If not a well-paying job, maybe an inheritance from a parent or other relative.

    The court determined she was entitled to the $15,000 award. I bet they know more about the facts than all of you.

    P.S. By the way, men are victims of violence as well. Who’s to say the 2 men the landlord rented to instead, couldn’t be killed or die out there in the wilderness of LaCrosse County?!

    • that cuts both ways

      You are a good person to give her the benefit of the doubt. Women are certainly capable of taking care of themselves if need be. Perhaps however, one could give the landlord the benefit of the doubt as well. There is far more to go one regarding her judgement. She felt the woman would not be able to handle the location and its responsibilities. Although the laws are meant to avoid discrimination, they also force property owners to rent to people they do not wish to, sometimes for good reason. I certainly would like to know the court’s reasoning that entitled this woman to $15,000. They are not infallible and it is possible that an arbitrary interpretation of the law gave this woman money she did not deserve.

      • jackactionhero

        It isn’t up to her to be altruistic. That’s why.

  • ez

    Welfare? She wanted to pay money to live there but was told that she could not. How is that a welfare person? You are ignorant.

  • Dave Seavy

    I wouldn’t own rental property these days for all the money in the world. The single mom may very well be a responsible and upstanding citizen, but renting to anybody these days is a roll of the dice. If you don’t rent to someone that has a history of tearing up rental property, you’ll get sued. If you rent to them and they destroy your property, all the government says is “hey – you rented to them – it’s your problem.” Of course there are plenty of slumloards out there that never take care of the property in the first place, and they prey on those who can’t afford much more than some rat hole. It’s a messy situation all around.

  • g8bbgg

    Amen, if she works.

  • g8bbgg

    In Minnesota renters can sh~t on the carpet, never clean, be months behind on their rent, have the police show up at their door every day on domestic calls and a landlord cannot evict without going to court. Even when a lease is up try not signing a new one and end up in court. There are no property owner rights anymore, thank you DFL for backing the welfare trash up from Illinois. My family got out of the rental business years ago when the issues started. We did not rent to section 8 at the time and we were asked why by the County. We could simply answer that we did a background check and this included credit and had to be with the same employer for at least one year. Can’t do that today have to rent to everyone and anyone.

    • Auntie Venom

      And don’t forget, if you live in Minneapolis, you have to pay $1000.00 for the privileged of doing so.

  • rml

    The landlord discriminated, glad she was sued….what the landlord did is illegal. Funny she didn’t discriminate against renting to two men….. who is going to cook for those two??

    • Bizzie Lordon

      I suspect that both of the men cook…hey! But the single Mother was an issue? Hopefully, the land lady will be able to see the error of her ways.

    • g8bbgg

      Her place to rent to who ever she wants, get the gov. out of our right to own property

      • jackactionhero


  • @tl

    1st off you rent a trailer tl, 2nd I own a home and I have rims so you don’t know chit you human ball washing machine.

  • Hey I know you

    You’re that foobar guy with the leaky roof and the moldy walls.

    Though we don’t mind the roaches.

  • Paul Solinger

    Awesome! This is an excellent decision!

  • Paul Solinger

    So you would just let people walk all over you? How sad and pathetic.

  • Disgusted up North

    The landlord only wanted men. Hoping she’d get lucky and they could shovel her walk and driveway in the winter. Maybe keep her warm on those cold nights. Hoping these guys get snowed in.
    Bet she doesn’t rent to old, overweight, bald men!

  • renters generally

    I’d really not want to be a land lord. With some obvious exceptions, renters are the poor decision makers in society. I really hate to ever have to be exposed to those folks.

  • A competent woman

    …and you kinow ‘that she ran’… and you know that she’ filed a complaint right away’… and HOW does that ‘say volumes volumes about her’?! What does ‘I wonder if she is well liked by co-workers?! I am thinking no…’ have to do with this at all?!

    What exactly is the appropriate amount of time to wait before filing a complaint?!

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