The Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968 and amended in 1988. It was meant to create more equality in housing practice. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale and rental of homes based on membership in protected classes. These protected classes include: race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and family status.
Discrimination against families with children in rental housing is called family status discrimination. Landlords do not have the right to turn you away simply for having children in your household. Families are protected by fair housing law. Discrimination can come up in many ways that you may have heard of before. Have you been turned away from housing because you have children?
Landlords should not be making the decision on who they rent to based on if the potential tenant is pregnant or has young children. It is also illegal for them to refuse to rent to families that have teenagers because they “have more problems” than younger kids. It is not up to your landlord if your children share a room, regardless of their gender. If housing can be rented to two adults, then it is not too small to be occupied by a parent and a child. The age of potential tenants should not influence their ability to rent a home. Additionally, you may have heard that some landlords do not allow children to live in 2nd floor units because they could disturb the tenants on the ground level. This is also discrimination and results in less available housing for families.
Enforcing different requirements for families is also a form of family status discrimination. Landlords cannot require a larger deposit or an increased monthly rent amount for households that have children. It is also not legal for a landlord to require a criminal background check for families with teenage kids when they do not require background checks for all potential tenants.
If you think you’ve been discriminated against because of your: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or family status, contact us at (887)445-2100, (504)596-2100, or visit lafairhousing.org.