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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 116751
Experience:  Attorney with over 24 years experience.
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Can I as a landlord state to a phone call that I have a

Customer Question

can I as a landlord state to a phone call that I have a preference as to whom I can rent to (ie I prefer to rent to married couples) I did not state that the caller could not make application to rent. If I cannot make such statements is it a violation of my free speech rights?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Unfortunately, while it is your property and you may privately make decisions as to who you will rent to and you do have free speech, there is a law called the Fair Housing Act, which prevents landlords from discriminating against tenants based on their age/race/sex/disability/national origin/marital status/children status. So you can exercise your right to free speech, but if that speech gives any indication that your decisions for rentals are based on any one of the aforementioned criteria, you open yourself up for a lawsuit for violation of the FHA. A violation of the FHA can lead to civil damage awards of upwards of $150,000 and more. So you can make such statements if you choose, because you do have the right to free speech, but you better be prepared to be sued for violations of the FHA and have those free speech statements used against you as evidence, even though you say you are not preventing them from applying the statements such as you indicated above say that you would discriminate against them on a prohibited basis.

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