Your Fair Housing Defense Blog Editor has written about the seven protected classes contained in our federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) many times: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status and disability. But remember that these seven protected classes merely represent the baseline of what may be covered where your property is located. Various states, cities, and counties have laws that add additional protected classes such as: source of income, sexual orientation, gender identity, criminal history, marital status, and/or veteran status.
And you must comply with the state and local laws in addition to federal law. Not knowing the law is never a defense that will work. Trust me on that. Indeed, one of my clients had me compile a summary of the laws in the jurisdictions in which they have properties. Other clients call and have me check the laws where they are buying an apartment community. Either solution works.
In practice, what this means is that everyone can be a member of at least one protected class. It goes without saying that everyone must be treated professionally, appropriately, and equally. Or you may really need to spend some time with a lawyer like me.
Just A Thought.