Familial Status

Large header image of a family.

It is illegal to discriminate against someone based on his or her familial status.

In fair housing law, “familial status” has a specific and limited meaning: the presence of children under the age of 18 in a household. You are protected against unlawful housing discrimination because of the presence of children under 18 who are living with you, whether you are their parent(s) or legal custodian(s). Pregnant people and people who are securing custody of children under age 18 (for example, grandparents who are taking custody of a grandchild) also are protected against discrimination.

If you are denied an opportunity to buy, rent, finance or insure a home or apartment—or given false information by a housing provider—because of your familial status, you are a victim of illegal housing discrimination. It is also illegal for landlords or other housing providers to treat existing tenants or residents differently because of their familial status.

Examples and Warning Signs of Familial Status Discrimination:

  • Advertisements that state ‘no children allowed’
  • Restricting families to one building or area of an apartment complex
  • Charging a higher rent or higher security deposit to families with children even if the family has a good rental history
  • Restricting children’s outdoor recreation activities or use of common areas, for example, designating “adults only” pools or pool hours
  • Denying a person a mortgage because the person is pregnant or taking maternity leave

See how one woman fought rental discrimination based on her familial status.

Learn how this woman fought discrimination and won the right to use her housing voucher to find a better place to live for her family.

If you believe you were discriminated against because of your family status, file a complaint.