Can we not rent to someone who has a child?

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Can we not rent to someone who has a child?

I’m renting a small room in my house. My husband and I live here and we aren’t comfortable with small children around. I understand non-discrimination laws don’t necessarily apply when you’re renting in the place where you live but you still have to be careful. How would it be best to respond to an interested party who has a child?

Asked on February 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The housing discrimination laws do not, as you suggest, apply to buildings or homes with four or fewer units which the owner occupies--which would be your situation. So you should  not have to contend with the anti-discrimination laws and should be able to freely decide who to rent to.

That said, assuming you do not have small children of your own, an appropriate response would be to cite the risk of liability: explain that your home is not child-proofed or child-friendly, since you don't have children that age yourself, and you cannot take the chance that a small child would be injured by access to medication, tools, cleaning supplies, etc.


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