The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing rental or conditions based on specific protected classes, such as race, color,sex, religion, national origin, handicap status and, pertinently, familial status.
Courts assess whether a housing provider discriminates based on familial status by inquiring if families with children are treated differently.
A policy that specifically restricts children (such as a pool use age restriction) will be subject to scrutiny by the court that assesses if the policy furthers a compelling goal (like safety) in the least imposing way on the protected class.
The important—and sometimes difficult—concept to understand when drafting a policy is that familial status is equally as protected as the other categories. Therefore, when drafting a policy that singles out children in a restrictive way, one must ask whether that policy would seem discriminatory if “children” were replaced with, e.g., a particular race.
Please review the NAA White Paper below for information regarding familial status best practices, especially regarding pool rules and common area usage.
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