As readers of this blog know, the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) contains seven protected classes:
While most of these are self-explanatory, "familial status" essentially means a community cannot discriminate against families with children or women who are pregnant. But these seven classes do not tell the entire story. Professional apartment owners and managers must also know the laws in the states, cities, and counties in which you have properties. For example, if you are located in California, state law has added protections for:
Source of Income
Furthermore, the California Supreme Court has noted that protections against unlawful discrimination are not necessarily restricted to these classifications. State law is intended to cover all arbitrary and international acts of discrimination on the basis of personal characteristics.
Now, for those of you not in California. your state and/or local laws may have some of these other protected classes. Here is the bottom line: it is incumbent on management to follow the laws of our jurisdictions. Trust me -- saying you were not aware of the law will not be an effective defense should you get sued for housing discrimination.
Just a Thought.