Can a Landlord Refuse to Rent to a Tenant with Children?

Can a Landlord Refuse to Rent to a Tenant with Children?

A landlord can NOT refuse to rent to a tenant with children as this violates the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

This is a clear violation of what is considered discrimination on the basis of familial status.  This means that rents to a family with a child, under the age of 18, whether living with a parent, legal designee, or custodian is permitted.  This Act also protects those who are pregnant or who have adopted a child.

What about restricting tenants to live in certain areas of the building?

This is also prohibited by the Fair Housing Act. Meaning…forcing a tenant to live in a 1st floor apartment to limit noise is not permitted. Furthermore, designating the “east wing of the building to children-friendly areas” would also be considered prohibited.

Can a tenant with child still rent a one bedroom apartment?

Depending upon village restrictions, this may be possible.  The landlord can not discriminate from renting to a parent with child for this reason, but, the landlord and tenant should check with local municipality law regarding number of occupants per bedroom or square footage as a restriction.

What rules can landlords develop regarding children at their apartment complex?

Well, rule making is a bit tricky. The rule has to have the intention of protecting the safety of the children and should not be restricted solely to one child or be prohibitive to the renting of the property to children.

Regarding noise violations, while all landlords should check with what their particular state will permit, most landlords will set “Quiet Hours” over specific times on an evening basis. This rule can also be used for very loud noises such as prohibiting firecrackers to be used.

Can children live in senior living communities?

Whether or not a child can live in a senior living community depends upon what legal requirements and restrictions may be in place in accordance to a housing community being defined as “senior”. This would be defined in the Older Persons Act.

Having said this, children would not be permitted to live in a senior living community if that community qualified under the Older Persons Act. Meaning, the community must have individuals 62 or older living at the property.

If the community were a 55 AND OLDER COMMUNITY, then, at least one resident must be 55 years of age or older. This type of community would permit a child so long as the adult (55 and older) were the legal guardian for the child. To qualify as a 55 and older community, 80% of the homes must be occupied by someone aged 55 or older. The other 20% can be used by anyone.

What should a tenant do if they feel they have been unlawfully discriminated by a landlord?

HOPE Fair Housing Center provides a detailed flowchart of the process in which they handle cases of discrimination here.

Before report to a local fair housing center, it is the author’s recommendation that you discuss with your landlord first.  Get the discussion is writing or obtain consent if recording a conversation.  Assuming that you are not able to come to a common agreement on the matter at hand, reporting to a local Fair Housing Center would be a beneficial first step.

If you have a story to share regarding children in a rental environment, please comment below!

NOTE : This blog is for information purposes and should not be considered as legal advice. Confirm with a local qualified attorney before moving forward with a policy for your apartment or rental home.