Fair Housing in New Orleans
I often receive forwarded emails from friends of friends who are trying to rent their places, in the hopes that we have a tenant for them. Today, I got one that made me stop and say a quick prayer to the housing gods that this person is not doing what I think they are doing.
Here’s part of what I received:
We have a 1/2 of a double house on XXX St. in XXX for rent if you know of anyone looking. It is a two bedroom. [details removed]… We’re asking XXX$/mo. Looking for a nice quiet couple or single person….
So what’s the problem?
Discrimination comes in many forms and often it’s not intentional. Stating a preference for a couple or single person basically sends the message that they don’t want kids in their unit – a big violation of Fair Housing Laws.
What does the law say?
Sellers and landlords may not “advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act”.
It seems to me this was exactly what the landlord in today’s email was doing. He/she may not have meant to discriminate based on familial status, but that’s how it appears. Defending yourself against a complaint to HUD can be very, very costly if you lose and is probably not how you want to spend thousands of your hard earned dollars.
When in doubt, check with a professional.