Familial Status

Did you know that housing ads on the internet that say "no kids" are illegal?

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against families with children. This includes households with one or more children under age 18, women who are pregnant, and anyone in the process of securing legal custody of a child under the age of 18 (i.e adoption). The protection applies to parents, those with legal custody and/or the designee of a parent.

The public is generally aware that housing discrimination based on race or national origin is illegal. The same isn't true for families with children. In April, 2002, HUD released a report titled "How Much Do We Know? Public Awareness of the Nation's Fair Housing Laws." The researchers found, based on surveys, that "[t]here is minimal awareness of the law as it pertains to treatment of families with children." The report noted that only 38% of those surveyed knew that it is illegal to treat families with children differently from households without children -- a misunderstanding of the Fair Housing Act that is reinforced daily by the discrimination found on the Internet. Online discriminatory housing ads work against HUD's strategic objective of promoting and increasing public awareness of the law.

In addition to the blatant "no kids" statements, other types of discrimination against families with children include limiting families to certain floors or buildings in an apartment complex or enforcing overly restrictive occupancy standards such as "one heartbeat per bedroom."