Property Management Blog

Do you have to rent to tenants with children?

Regarding families with children, federal law doesn’t give property owners the liberty to reject them as tenants. You might argue that your property is not suitable for a child, however, it is for the parent to decide if their children can handle living in certain types of homes. 

Property managers can limit the number of tenants living on the property, however, they have no say in the number of children that can live with their families in a rental. Therefore, you must treat families with children the same way that you would treat any other applicant. 

What Does the Federal Fair Housing Act Require From Landlords?

The Fair Housing Act forbids tenants to discriminate against protected groups of people. Families with children are included in protected classes. This is what would be considered a familial status and it covers pregnant women, anyone under the legal age of 18, anyone who obtains the custody of a child (including adoptive and foster children), and anyone who possesses written permission from a legal guardian. 

According to the law, landlords are prohibited from refusing to rent to protected classes that fall into these categories. It’s recommended that you get professional advice about the laws in your region, because local laws differ from state to state, therefore you need to consider the location of your property.

Occupancy Prohibitions Don’t Include Children

Although it depends on the state you live in, the most common law for US states is that you can not limit the number of children on the property. You can state the number of people you allow to live in your home as a landlord, however, you are not allowed to state the number of children.

Rent Price Can Not Change

You might have set a rent price per room, per person, or per condo, but you can not charge additional rent for children. You can only ask for the same amount of rent that you normally would. Landlords can only charge adults for living on the property. 

You can’t Change Policies

Property owners can only set a list of policies once. You can not change policies and rules for your property for different applicants. If your tenants have familial status, you don’t have the right to adjust your rules to fit children.

You can apply safety policies and rules if you find them fit. However, these rules should apply to any applicants, not just the ones with a familial status.

Families must have access to all rental units

A property management company is not allowed to devote certain units from families. The familial status federal housing law requires that every applicant has equal chances of finding a property they like. 

As a property manager or a property owner, you can not apply stricter rules to families with children. Neither can you prohibit families with children from living on certain floor levels or types of properties. You must make every rental unit available for every applicant. You don’t have the right to direct your applicants’ attention to a property that you find more kid-friendly than others. You must give them an equal chance of renting the properties they would like. 

Final Thoughts

Rules, laws, and policies vary according to countries and states. If you are a property owner in the United States of America, you must follow the federal housing act which prohibits you from refusing to rent to families with children. You must give every potential tenant an equal opportunity. There are no specific rules or changes that you can apply according to the familial status of an applicant. As a property owner, you must ensure that you have given every tenant an equal opportunity. Moreover, you should recognize that kid-friendly properties are more likely to succeed on the market. Instead of treating this federal act as a limitation, you should use it as an opportunity to make your rental property more kid-friendly and market it as such!