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Landlords must make sure to treat all prospective tenants equally. The government has passed laws which protect certain classes of people from discrimination in housing. Familial status is one such protected class.
A property owner in New Hampshire found out first-hand the consequences of being accused of discriminating against families with children. According to the Concord Monitor, a single mother filed a complaint against Premiere Real Estate LLC for refusing to show her an apartment on South Main Street. She alleges that the company told her the apartment was not suitable for "a family with children."
Being a first time offense, if convicted, the company can face up to $16,000 in fines plus damages.
It is so crucial that every landlord and property owner understand both Federal and local Fair Housing Laws. You must learn what classes are protected under the laws as well as what actions would be considered discrimination. This will help prevent misunderstandings and potential hefty legal consequences from failure to adhere to such laws.Suggested Reading:
Fair Housing for Families
Housing Rights for the Disabled
What Is Fair Housing?
Fair Housing-List of Protected Classes by State