The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of family status in all housing transactions. In 2020, the National Fair Housing Alliance reported that 7.71% of all fair housing complaints filed the previous year involved discrimination on the basis of family status.
Discrimination on the basis of family status may look like:
- Designating certain floors or units of an apartment building as child-free
- Charging extra rent or a higher security deposit because a family has children under 18 years
- Mandating only one resident per bedroom in an apartment
Occupancy restrictions that limit the number of people who share a room can sometimes constitute familial status discrimination. In March of 1991, HUD released the Keating Memorandum that attempted to clarify their position on FHA violations relating to occupancy restrictions. The Keating Memo
clarified that HUD and DOJ, as a general rule, considered an occupancy policy of two persons per bedroom to be reasonable, but there are cases when even a two person per room standard may violate the FHA, depending on factors such as the size of the bedroom and overall unit, the age of any children occupants, and the configuration of the unit. Occupancy standards also vary locally, and your city or county website is the best starting place to find more specific guidelines.
Exemptions from Familial Status Discrimination
The Fair Housing Act provides provides an exemption from familial status discrimination for “housing for older persons,” which includes certain senior housing facilities and communities.
Have you experienced discrimination? Call HOPE at 630-690-6500
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