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4 years ago
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Are people allowed to not rent to me because I am in college?

My friends and I are having an incredibly tough time finding a place to live next year, even though we all have our parents as guaranteers and 2 of us have steady (real incomes) and I have an oncampus job that would at least cover rent.

Is it legal for people to refuse to rent to us becuase of our age?
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Colleen Corgan
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4 years ago
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Casey,

Unfortunately in DC, it seems like there are always a lot of people vying for one apartment, so you end up losing out a couple of times before you get one.

I've learned a couple of tricks for approaching open houses that has allowed me (even though I am considered young) to "win" my home:

- Show up early and dressed appropriately for the open house. When living with roommates, all should show up.
- Bring proof of income, bank statements if it shows money in reserve, and signed letters from guaranteers.
- Know numbers from previous landlords, as well as any other references they might ask about
- Bring 3 checks each: background/credit check, security deposit, and first month's rent

Showing the property manager that you are financially secure and ready to commit at that exact moment will help you be more successful in winning the home you want. Good luck!

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4 years ago
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It's illegal to deny housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/42/3604.html

That said, it appears that the reasons for your difficulties might be more tied to your financial status than to your age or status as students. Property owners are allowed to refuse you on the basis of your financial status (and, in fact, many use financial status as a proxy for refusing people of color, people with children, etc).

There is some provision for age discrimination, but it limited to "retirement" communities where a minimum age of 55 is effect. These communities must adhere to a number of provisions to have this exemption to the Fair Housing rules.

Your best bet, given that you do seem to have sufficient resources, is to work with a property management company. In most cases, due to the number of properties under management and the increased Fair Housing scrutiny that these firms typically get, they're going to be more likely to "play ball" with you than an individual landlord that may be searching for an excuse not to rent to students.

Good luck!

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4 years ago
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You may be experiencing issues if the property is a tax credit or bond property where the financing does not allow renting apartments to all full time students only. Feel free to ask the apartment community to explain the reason. Their are some exeptions which you may fall into but this is a legitimate reason for denial as it is not based on a protected class.

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3 years ago
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In Massachusetts there are two unprotected groups or maybe three if you count pet owners. They are students and smokers. In the Boston area and Cambridge in particular we have people from all over the world with no established credit or landlord references. The best advice is to bring a job position letter and pay stub if you've started working. A letter from the College or institution that is sponsoring you're fellowship...etc. I agree with the previous comment. Show up early and be your professional self with all needed documentation, financials, and an short explanation of anything that needs it. You have to bring all the roommates. The elusive 3rd or 4th roommate kills every deal. You must answer every question and concern before they are asked. Give the landlord an easy choice to have nothing else to say but, when do you want to move in. Everyone appreciates a honest and simple "story" (without sympathy) that makes sense about what you're there to do. Express yourself and what you're there to do.

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2 years ago
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Federal fair housing laws do not protect against discrimination based on matriculation (student status). However, depending upon your apartment's location (i.e. in Washington, D.C.), additional state or local protections apply. In the District of Columbia, it is against the DC Human Rights Act to deny housing based upon matriculation. If a housing provider has denied you housing on this basis, I recommend contacting your local fair housing authority in DC or NGO (Equal Rights Center) and filing a complaint.

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4 years ago
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Technically the answer is yes they can refuse you. However, I happen to work with a friend that owns numerous college apartments (http://www.albanystudentapartments.com) and If you are looking to rent in a college neighborhood, you should not be having a problem unless you have a bad credit history or bad tenant history. Something does seem right. What is the exact excuse that landlords are giving you?

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Travis Bohling
Travis Bohling
Property Management Company
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3 years ago
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It is legal to refuse but it seems like it would be a foolish decision. I hope you found a smarter owner to rent from.

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Ishwar UttamChandani
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3 years ago
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A landlord is allowed to rent his property to anyone he wishes. As long as he does not discriminate based on sex, race, age etc. So collage students and lawyers are in the same boat.

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2 years ago
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In the District of Columbia, in most all situations, it is illegal to deny housing solely on the fact you are college student (matriculation). It is also illegal to discriminate based on source of income (student loans, parental help, etc). If you feel you've been discriminated against you can contact the DC Office of Human Rights. They will follow up on your complaint, http://ohr.dc.gov/ohr/cwp/view,a,3,q,627574,ohrNav,|30953|.asp

But in the long run you probably don't want to rent from someone who doesn't want you anyway simply because you're a student. Have a good credit history, be a responsible tenant, and hopefully you'll find something that suits you.

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