No Trump Supporters and Fair Housing

Many jurisdictions, such as DC, have their own fair housing law. These laws often include additional protected classes not found in the Federal Fair Housing Act, such as, inter alia, marital status, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, source of income. DC also protects against discrimination on the basis of political affiliation. In light of this, does refusing to rent to an individual who supported Trump violate this protection? It is not clear-cut. Arguably, it may. However, if the limitation applies only to individuals who are supporters of Trump, a reasonable argument could be made that it does not.

Apparently, this has started to become a reality: people searching for roommates stating explicitly that they do want to live with a person who supported Trump. The NY Times has written an article on this topic.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/us/politics/roommates-trump-supporters.html

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. avatar john
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Ms. Salmon’s quote in the NYT article is incoherent. First she says about the Trump-supporter ban that she “doesn’t see anything illegal about it”, but then she is quoted as saying there’s a reasonable argument to be made that it doesn’t violate the D.C. ban on political discrimination. So which one is it? is it clear that it’s fine or does one have to make a reasonable argument and hope for the best? If true, these quotes reveal some pretty big gaps in Ms. Salmon’s argument. Quite embarrassing, to be sure.

    j

    • avatar ssalmon
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your comment. I don’t disagree that the quote in the NYT is not as clear as it could, or even should, be. Had I written it myself, I would have tried to be clearer. However, as I say in my blog post and what I believe can be gleaned from the article is that refusing to rent to a Trump supporter would not violate (i.e., be illegal) under the federal Fair Housing Act. However, most jurisdictions, which have their own fair housing laws, usually expand the number of classes of people protected beyond those that are protected under the federal FHA. Therefore, one must also consider any such applicable local laws and additional protected classes. In this case, DC has included a protected class for political affiliation. Like many things in the law, though, there is not a clear-cut answer to the question whether, under DC anti-discrimination law, a person could refuse to rent to a Trump supporter w/o violating the DC protection against discrimination on the basis of political affiliation. What I have said is that a reasonable argument could be made that it would not. And, yes, it is not uncommon to make what you believe to be a reasonable argument “and hope for the best.” The law is full of gray areas.

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