Pitfalls in Listing and Advertising Residential Rental Properties
The Federal Fair Housing Act and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibit discrimination based on familial status. A person offering a property for rent cannot discriminate against a renter (potential or current) for having children. Dissuading renters from renting a certain property or steering them towards a different property is also considered prohibited discrimination based on familial status. One should avoid, therefore, stating “no children,” or a specific number of children, in any rental advertisement. And even subtle suggestions, like “ideal for quiet, professional couple” or “great for a young couple,” could be viewed as discriminatory. Housing non-profits have been known to scour Craigslist and other places where apartments are advertised to look for advertisements with these sorts of “trigger words,” and may bring an action against the property manager and/or owner – either through a regulatory agency or in court - for discriminatory rental policies based only on a discriminatory advertisement.
It is important to know the rules, what to avoid advertising, and the limited exceptions which may be available to those rules. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding what you can say in an advertisement for a rental property.