The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in apartment complexes and condominiums against families. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent to families with children, or to refuse to allow children to play outside in common areas, or to require supervision of children (other than in clearly dangerous situations). The point behind the Fair Housing Act is that it is the parent’s responsibility to monitor their own kids, not the landlord’s right. As one court noted, “Common sense also dictates parents are responsible for supervising the activities of their young children without the need for a written rule. Just as one who enters a national forest does not require a written rule stating it is unlawful to start a forest fire or one entering the Redwood forest does not require a written rule about cutting the old growth, neither does a parent need to be instructed by apartment rules not to leave a young child unsupervised.” Another court put it more succinctly, “As a general rule, safety judgments are for informed parents to make, not landlords.” In short, it is illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent an apartment or condominium to somebody because that person will have children living with them. Moreover, if a landlord rents to a family, the landlord does not have a right to control that family’s children.
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January 17, 2017
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