LA CROSSE - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development accuses a western Wisconsin landlord of violating the Fair Housing Act. Darlene Dovenberg allegedly refused to rent a rural house to a single mother because she had no man living with her, quoting here, "to shovel the snow."

Dovenberg says she was simply watching out for the unnamed woman's welfare, but the federal agency says the Fair Housing Act bans discrimination based on gender or family status. The complaint was filed by HUD on behalf of the female applicant.

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Dovenberg's rental property is reportedly in a remote part of La Crosse County. She says the area gets poor cell phone reception and has unreliable landline service. She says she was just using common sense, worrying about the woman's safety as she steered her away from a property that could be difficult to manage.