Some fair housing questions are relatively straight forward. I love when I can give a direct answer.
Can management charge a higher security deposit simply because an applicant has children who may cause more wear and tear in an apartment? The answer is no. Familial status (families with one or more children under the age of 18, including pregnant women as well as individuals seeking to adopt or gain custody of a child) is one of the protected classes in the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Management cannot charge a higher security deposit because a child or children might cause damage to an apartment. Security deposits need to be set based on objective, non-discriminatory criteria.
To be sure, there are still valid occupancy standards for most units. Occupancy standards prohibit, for example, eight people living in a two bedroom apartment. Part of the reason for occupancy standards is safety. Another reason is to prevent excessive damage to a unit.
Just A Thought.