Per Section 804 (c) of the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to make, print, or publish any notice or statement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that includes a preference or limitation based on a protected class. Avoid posting discriminatory statements on social media or in any type of advertising. Posting discriminatory statements will be very difficult to defend in court or during an administrative complaint investigation process.

You want to make sure that nothing in your ad can be interpreted as discriminatory. Your ads should stick to the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, rental price, location, lease terms and amenities and special features of the property. A good rule of thumb is to describe the unit itself and not the desired qualities of potential occupants.

The following are examples of illegal advertising:

  • “No kids”
  • “Perfect for single or couple”
  • “Christian home”
  • “Apartment not suitable for handicapped person”
  • “Italian neighborhood”
  • “Mature adults preferred”
  • “Prefer single female”
  • “Not suitable for families with kids due to the stairs”
  • “Great for retired couple or young professional”
Describe the rental unit in an accurate manner. Advertise only rental units that are truly available. Quote the correct rental rate in your ad. Any discrepancies between what is stated in an ad and what is verbally conveyed to a prospective tenant could be construed as unlawful discrimination. Make sure to mention any legal rules or regulations, like “no smoking”, in your ad. If you are going to do a credit check and/or a background check, you may mention this in the ad.

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