Q I've been looking for a new apartment after my recent divorce. I have custody of my two small children, ages two and five. The owner of the apartment was willing to rent to me until I starting talking about my kids. Then he refused to rent to me, because he said my kids would make too much noise and would mess up his property. This isn't legal, is it?
A It is unlawful under the PHRA for a landlord to refuse to rent to someone because they have children under 18.
Q A friend of mine lives on the first floor of an apartment house. The owner of the building told her that the two-bedroom unit on the second floor was available at a reasonable rate with utilities included. I called the owner to see the apartment. When I got to the place, I had my biracial son with me. After he showed us the apartment, I told the owner I would take the apartment when it was ready. The owner said that he did not want to rent to anyone with children. I asked the landlord if this was really the reason, or was it because my son was biracial. The landlord said, "Bi-racial? That's the reason. It's a White neighborhood and I do not want to bring blacks in. I do not want to be the cause of any problems in this neighborhood." I didn't think he could refuse to rent to me for either reason. Who is right?
A It is unlawful under the PHRA for a landlord to refuse to rent to someone because of their race or because they have children.
Q I read an ad in the paper that said "No kids allowed." The description of the apartment sounded perfect, until I read that at the end. Should I go ahead and call to see the apartment anyway?
A Yes. It is unlawful under the PHRA for a landlord to refuse to rent to someone because they have children. It is also unlawful for the newspaper to run an ad which expresses such discrimination. You may file a complaint with the PHRA, and we will investigate and take any appropriate action.
Q My family and I just purchased a condo. We selected this particular one because it has a pool. After we moved in, we found out that because of the liability concerns the Home Owners Association has, children are not allowed to use the pool. Can they do this?
A It is unlawful under the PHRA for your condominium association to refuse to allow children to use the pool because of liability concerns. However, there may be reasonable restrictions placed on the use of the pool by children. You may file a complaint with PHRC, and we will investigate and take any appropriate action.
Q I went to see a house with a third-floor for rent. The floor has a balcony. The landlord said that because of my three children, he wouldn't rent that floor to anyone with kids because of liability reasons. Can he make that type of a decision?
A It is unlawful under the PHRA to refuse to rent to a family with children solely because of liability reasons.
Q My husband and I have two children. We went to look at a two-bedroom apartment. The manager said that only three people can live in a two bedroom unit. Can she do this?
A It is unlawful under the PHRA for a landlord to refuse to rent to someone because they have children.