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Marital Status In Housing

Marital Status In Housing


The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status (having children and pregnancy), and physical or mental disability. Marital status is not one of the protected categories under federal law but is protected by Washington State law.


Marital status refers to whether or not someone is:

- married

- in a domestic partnership

- single, divorced, or separated.


Under the Fair Housing Act[1]:

  • If a landlord normally places both spouses on a lease, then all roommates in a single household should also be placed on the lease.
  • If a landlord requires a married couple to earn a combined 3 times the rent, then the landlord must apply this policy equally to a group of roommates. That is, roommates may only be required to earn a combined three times the rent.
  • Divorcing couples also must be treated the same as unmarried groups of persons should one of the spouses move from the property. A housing provider must treat the remaining spouse the same as the remaining roommates.


Some potential signs of marital status discrimination could be:

  • Being told that it is against the religious beliefs of the housing provider to rent to unmarried couples
  • A bank denying access to a home loan because you are unmarried or divorcing
  • A housing provider evicting a tenant because she has separated from her husband
  • Setting curfews or overnight guest restrictions for single residents.



If you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of your marital status, you may file a complaint here.


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.