If you have children...
You have a right to the housing of your choice. Housing discrimination against families with children is no longer legal in any state in the nation. This means that families cannot be denied the housing of their choice simply because they have children. The law protects pregnant women, families with children, adults serving as guardians for children and those in the process of obtaining legal custody of children (such as those who are adopting a child under 18 years of age).
How to recognize this type of housing discrimination
Landlords and real estate agents usually don't say, "We don't accept kids."
Suspect housing discrimination when these types of comments are made:
"We take younger children, but teenagers will disturb the other tenants."
"Sure, we rent to families with kids, but we'll need an extra security deposit."
"Only 3 people are allowed in a 2 bedroom apartment."
"For their own safety, we only allow children in the basement and first floor units."
"Our 'kids' building is full."
"This complex isn't suitable for children -- no playground or open space."
"Sorry, a parent and child cannot share a bedroom."
"Children aren't allowed to use the swimming pool, exercise room or tennis courts."
In some very narrow circumstances, it is legal to exclude families with children from an apartment or house of their choice. Housing complexes designed for older persons can exclude families if they meet certain strict criteria:
- everyone in the building is over 62 years of age,
- or 80% of the units have at least one occupant over age 55 and the building/community adheres to a published policy statement, rules and procedures that demonstrate an intent to house persons who are 55 or older,
- or the building is part of a state or federal program that provides housing for elderly people.
Housing law allows owners renting a room or unit in a building with four or fewer units to exclude families with children if the owner lives in one of the units.