My Landlord Says My Child Can’t Stay in My Apartment

Ronald Williams is a recently divorced man. When he separated from his wife, he moved out of the house and rented an apartment.

In divorce proceedings, his wife won sole custody of their two children. He was devastated.

Then, as part of an ill-advised plot to spend quality time with his children, he disguised himself as an eighty-year old German nanny. He introduced himself as Mrs. Dütflame and won his way to his children’s hearts with strudel and by reading grim fairy tales.

Ronald could not keep up the sham of Mrs. Dütflame and was eventually unmasked. But the effort that he expended to be with his children was rewarded. His ex-wife agreed to a shared custody arrangement.

Ronald’s children now live with him two weeks of every month.

Ronald’s landlord did not know Ronald had children when he rented an apartment to him. He does not like having children around the apartments. He thinks they are noisy and smelly. He tells Ronald that the lease specifies that only those approved by the landlord are allowed to stay in the apartment. The landlord does not approve Ronald’s children. Therefore, the children have to leave or else Ronald will be evicted for breaching the lease.

Can Ronald’s landlord evict him because his children moved in with him?

Landlord’s may not discriminate based on familial status. 42 U.S. Code § 3604. This means that a landlord cannot treat a tenant differently just because they have minor children living with them.[1]

Therefore, a landlord may not evict you based on the fact that your child is staying with you. See e.g. U.S. v. Lepore, 816 F. Supp. 1011. (

If a landlord attempts to evict you based on the fact that your minor child comes to live with you, the landlord has most likely violated the law. [2] With limited exceptions, a landlord also breaks the law if they try to punish you because (1) your child plays outdoors in common areas or (2) your child plays too loudly. You cannot be punished merely because your child acts like a child.

If your landlord has threatened to evict you or punish you because you have a child living with you, call the legal specialists at Hepworth, Murray & Associates. Our experienced attorneys will assist you in defending your rights in eviction proceedings and obtaining payment from your landlord for housing discrimination. Cal us at 801-872-2222.

[1] ‘Familial status’ means one or more individuals (who have not attained the age of 18 years) being domiciled with—

(1) a parent or another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals; or

(2) the designee of such parent or other person having such custody, with the written permission of such parent or other person.

The protections afforded against discrimination on the basis of familial status shall apply to any person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years.

42 U.S. Code § 3602(k).

[2] There are limited exceptions to the general rule against discrimination based on familial status. An apartment can exclude children because of occupancy limits in local building codes or if the apartment meets the requirements for special communities for individuals over age 55.

This article was written by Attorney Zachary C. Myers of Hepworth & Associates and Associates.

Michael Hepworth

Michael Hepworth

Managing Attorney at Hepworth & Associates
Michael is the Managing Attorney of Hepworth & Associates, LLC.
Michael Hepworth

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