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Familial Status

Familial Status In Housing


The Fair Housing Act provides specific protections regardless of familial status. Familial Status refers to households containing one or more persons under the age of 18, including:

  • Parents (biological or with legal custody)
  • Designee of such parent with written permission
  • Pregnant persons
  • Persons in the process of securing legal custody of a person under 18 years old


Under the Fair Housing Act, housing providers cannot:

  • Use ads that target individuals based on familial status or show a preference for those without children
  • Evict families once a child joins the family through, e.g., birth, adoption, custody
  • Apply different terms or conditions to families with children
  • Deny applications based on presence of children in the home
  • Steer individuals to certain floors or areas of a complex because of perceived behavior of children
  • Prohibiting children from using amenities through blanket policies rather than based on manufacturer’s guidelines or product safety instructions



In the case of housing for older persons (HOPA) housing providers may restrict the presence of children:

Housing for Older Persons (HOPA) is the only exemption

to the familial status protections offered by fair housing laws.


55+ Communities =

  • 20% of units may be occupied without at least one person 55 years or older living in the home
  •  May place special regulations on a minor’s use of the facilities and amenities.


62+ Communities =

  • Intended for and solely occupied by persons over the age of 61



Some potential signs of familial status discrimination could be:

  • Enforcing “one person per bedroom” policies rather than going by square footage or local zoning ordinances
  • Prioritizing applicants on a waiting list based on familial status
  • Offering families with children units near a playground or on the first floor only due to perceived noise



The work that provided the bases for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations continued in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.