In our fair housing world, “steering” is essentially segregating families with children toward a particular area of a community or outright directing families with children to other communities altogether. Both of these practices are illegal and will subject management to scrutiny under the Fair Housing Act. Additionally, it is also against the law to restrict families with children to downstairs units. All potential renters have the absolute right to view all available housing options within a community and to select the location of their choice.
Make no mistake, even what could well be a benign comment such as "apartment two is closer to the playground" could be perceived as steering. Leasing office staff can and should certainly show the applicants a map of the community and let the potential new residents make the decision as to which available unit they wish to rent. Again, management must not get in the business of recommending "kid friendly" units or otherwise directing applicants to certain apartments.
Just A Thought.