Here are two signs posted at an apartment community:


Anything wrong with either sign?

While you can absolutely decide not to permit pets at your apartment community, the general rule is that you cannot restrict children.  The Fair Housing Act (FHA) was amended in 1988 to include “familial status” (legalese for “families with children”) as a protected class.  That means, for the most part, management cannot simply declare that a building is for adults only (I know there are limited exceptions in the law for communities designated for those aged 55 and over, and if you are interested in such a community, I can help you with the necessary certifications).  The rules still applies even if motives are good – perhaps you are concerned about safety as a building is on a crowded street or perhaps that the stairs in your old building are steep – children simply cannot be a reason for you to reject a family.  Similarly, management cannot, for example, limit children to the first floor of a building or to a designated wing of a building.

The rule for animals is quite different.  Some people love animals.  Some dislike them.  Some management companies believe permitting pets will help boost apartment rentals.  Others think prohibiting (or at least restricting) animals will improve a community.  Unlike children, however, management is free to make whatever choice you determine is best for your business (and your residents).   Indeed, some owners charge pet deposits and monthly pet rent.  Now, here is the important caveat:  please know that if you decide to have a no pets community (or if you restrict certain dog breeds at your community), bona fide service and/or companion animals do not count as pets and usually must be permitted (and management cannot charge a pet deposit or pet rent for service/companion animals).  While management can require limited medical verification concerning a specific disability and need for a service or companion animal, if the resident provides that documentation and you reject the reasonable accommodation request, you will likely need to speak with a lawyer like me.

Just A Thought.