What to do if my landlord is assigning an opposite gender roommate in my apartment?

My daughter is in a private company apartment complex that caters to students and pairs roommates. My daughter’s female roommate is moving out and all indications are that a male roommate is being assigned the to soon to be vacated bed space. The contract is gender neutral as to who can be assigned using the term “roommate”. Is there anyway I can block a male from being assigned to my daughter’s apartment? A female replacement would be acceptable but on religious grounds we strenuously object to a male. What recourse do we have?

Asked on March 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, you only have whatever recourse the contract which you signed affords you: if the contract does not limit roommates by gender or provide some other mechanism or basis for objecting a roommate, your daughter will likely have to accept a male roommate if one is assigned.

The exception would be if, apart from what the contract actually says, it was represented (promised) to you by the company before you signed that they would only pair same gender roommates; if that was the case, and you relied on that representation in choosing to have your daughter live here (and if the company representative you spoke with knew or should have known from your discussions, correspondence, etc. that this mattered to you), then if they do not honor their representation, you may be able to rescind the contract entirely and move your daughter out on the basis that they committed fraud by promising one thing but knowinglhy not delivering it.

You may also have "non-legal" recourse, such as--

1) If the company gets referrals from a school or college, complain to them--maybe they will ask the landlord to only assign a female roommate.

2) Try to find a woman in a different unit (or even currently outside this complex) who would want to room with your daughter.

3) Ask if  you could pay the full rent for the apartment, so your daughter has it all to herself; and/or ask if you could pay the full rent then sublet it, which puts the onus on you to find a female roommate.

In the future, if this is a concern, you need to make sure that the lease/contract specifies gender.


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