Fair Housing vs. Unfair Housing

Do you know the difference?

Knowing the difference between fair housing and unfair housing isn't as obvious as you might think. This blog aims to present a variety of important and interesting fair housing issues.

If you're an apartment professional, avoid costly mistakes by reading the stories of others who — even with good intentions — learned compliance lessons the hard way. (For the easy way, click here.)

If you live in an apartment, get familiar with your rights when it comes to housing discrimination, as well as your options for seeking justice.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Protecting Children or Discriminating Against Families?

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The Fair Housing Act (FHA) bans discrimination based on familial status, which means property owners can't treat people differently because they have children under 18 living with them. However, unlike adults, children are particularly susceptible to danger, and so it's okay for owners to impose reasonable rules aimed at protecting them. For example, an apartment complex shouldn't fear requiring adult supervision of young children in the swimming pool area. But a rule banning children from the pool from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. so that residents can enjoy a "quiet, adult swim" would be problematic.

The question is, where do you draw the line? When is it protecting children (legal) and when is discriminating against families (illegal)?

Citing safety concerns about children being hit by cars, the homeowners' association at a Florida condominium recently created a rule barring children under 17 from being outside on the property without adult supervision. The association has also outlawed bicycles and skateboards, according to Fox's Orlando affiliate.

Is this an example of a reasonable attempt by adults to protect children from danger? Or is it a violation of the FHA's ban on familial status discrimination? Should the association overturn its rule, and just leave it to the children and their parents to be safe when playing outdoors? Does it go too far, to the point where families with children might hesitate to live there?

What do you think?

1 comment:

Lynette DLM said...

I do not think it is right to not allow children to ride their bikes where they live. There is ALWAYS risks involved when it comes to children, but banning them from being able to be kids where they live is not right....so what are the chances of winning a law suit like this? I am living in a situation very similar right now.