Can I put "Adult's Only" within a Lease Agreement?

33 Replies

I know you can't say "no blacks" as it's discrimination, but I believe you can state Whites Only. Is this true? 

How's that sound to you? 

You have not found some magical loophole. You will get sued and lose. 

If you already have a unit that is large enough to house kids or a large number of people, and you'd rather not, there are other ways to market the property.

For instance, is it near a college and you'd be okay with renting rooms to students?  In my experience, law students are amazing.  Can you rent rooms to law students?  I've also heard that medical students are the same.

Renting to AirBnB, even to families, can result in less damage, because you get in there and clean, etc., more often.

Maybe rent to temp nurses who will typically only rent for 3 months at a time, even rent out just rooms to temp nurses.  They travel alone, or maybe with a pet, from what I have learned.

It's also not illegal to only advertise in certain places.  For instance, after I decided I loved law students, I worked out a deal with the law school nearby to advertise on their facebook page and I also only then advertised on the graduate student website for that college.  And, I offered a $100 rent credit to any existing law student tenants who found me another law student to rent to when I had vacancies.

There are legal options.

@Andy Webb

Its under federal fair housing act.

Also- to reply to this thread,

I think you can say something along the lines of adults only if its senior living? I forgot exact words but if the neighborhood consists of 75% of +55 and over in age of owners, there can be some kind if wording like you mentioned..

Some units are exempt from discrimination, like owner-occupied.  So, depending on the unit, you may be exempt.  You'll have to look up the laws that pertain to your property on that.

Are you talking about the lease agreement or advertising the unit for rent? As others have said you can't advertise "adults only", but your lease should list all of the occupants of the apartment kids or adults and the total number of people living in the dwelling.

@Andy Webb I’ve never had the apartment deleaded... I know tenants can force landlords to delead if there are concerns with newborns or toddlers.

Long story short, there’s two tenants. One just moved out so I need to do a new lease agreement with the tenant staying and their new roommate... the tenant staying just got a new girlfriend pregnant. She’s not on any lease paperwork and not the new roommate, but has been staying there frequently. I want this to be temporary as it’s a very desirable apartment... it’s kind of a messy situation but I want to go about it the right way


@Matt Sullivan ,

Saying no kids is a quick invitation to get sued.   Your state is VERY pro-tenant, so be careful.    We don't want to see you on the news for being made an example of how serious discrimination is taken there!  

 If you have 1 bad tenant, honestly I'd end their lease or do a quick cash for keys.

@Matt Sullivan sounds like a tangled mess.

Have you honestly looked into deleading the apartment. There are companies that will do this sort of work. They shave the paint down to bare wood and then you let your painter go to work.

I personally prefer to just replace all the woodwork when buying a vacant rental property. It’s just feasible to replace all the woodwork sometimes.

It might sound crazy to some, but I prefer to replace all the doors and woodwork because I would rather have standard doors and standard trim. If damage occurs it is so much easier to slap in a pre-hung door than spend all day trying to carve a door to fit a crazy weird opening. For the baseboards I pull the existing and replace with 1x6 pine with quarter round on top for that fancy touch.

I’m going through this in a property in Springfield, Ma. Lady tenant is pregnant and house needs deleaded. It has way to much woodwork to feasibility replace so going with a company to strip the paint this time. No time like the present. It will bite you in the *** eventually.

Option 2 is sell the property and make this some others guys problem.

@Matt Sullivan You should get the unit de-leaded. By making this post you're aware that the unit probably has lead and in MA that can have HUGE repercussions for a landlord if a child gets lead poisoned. By huge I mean a sh*t ton of money you need to pay.

Let me know if you have questions as I have my deleading supervisors license in MA

@Matt Sullivan @Avery Heilbron we meet again in yet another MA post.
Gotta LOVE Massachusetts. 
This is such a tenant-friendly state said NO ONE EVER!!

Here are a few of the Massachusetts laws, rules, and regulations, and a few Federal ones your property manager should be aware of, and understand to avoid possible problems between tenants, municipalities, and lawyers (not that they are bad people at all):

  • Tenant/Landlord Law MGL 186 ss15B; 93a; 139 ss19
  • Housing Discrimination Law: Title VIII of Civil Rights Amendment of 1968
  • Information Protection Act: 201 CMR 17.00 & 93H
  • State Sanitary Code 780 CMR
  • State Building Code 105 CMR 410
  • International Building Code (IBC)
  • International Energy Code (IBC energy Code)
  • American Disabilities Act

Good starting points:
Offense: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-law-about-landlord-and-tenant
Defense: https://www.mass.gov/guides/the-attorney-generals-guide-to-landlord-and-tenant-rights

Some light reading to keep you out of court rooms...

ENJOY!!!

@Rose White - oh sure, I get that. I was curious why the OP Matt was trying to avoid children.  In my experience, families with kids in a decent school district tend to stay for the long haul.

@Matt Sullivan - thanks for the update. If the unit is built before 1978 we just use the Lead-Based Paint addendum (HUD requirement actually), and either note that a) we have no knowledge of whether there is lead present; or b) that we do have knowledge and provide documentation. At that point the tenant is acknowledging the situation (normally we do not have knowledge one way or the other). It sounds like your state may have more stringent requirements as regards remediation in those situations where you do have knowledge that lead is present...

@Matt Sullivan you are probably unlikely to attract someone with kids. It sounds like you are renting one bedroom. Realistically from an occupancy standpoint, you are not going to get a family applying for one room. And you are within rights to apply occupancy standards to meet fire code. That being said, two people per room (parent/child) is very reasonable.

As far as the girlfriend, you should have rules in the lease about visitors to limit how many nights she is spending there. Maybe she could just rent the other room and they could take the whole place for their family?  

Originally posted by @Matt Sullivan :

I know you can't say "no children" as it's discrimination, but I believe you can state Adults Only. Is this true? Also is it different from state-to-state? I'm located in in MA

Adults only is synonymous with no children...This is hard to figure out???

That said, I didn't see it mentioned by anyone else, that if you own less than 3 houses or live in this rental (such as a four plex) fair housing laws don't apply to you.  Unless you are a realtor of course, then they magically suddenly apply to you regardless. I sold some properties off and dropped from the threshold, only to be thrust back in as a realtor....

I still don't recommend saying any such thing in writing, in person, or whatever. The bleeding heart people will get free attorneys to sue you anyways and the 9th circus court of appeals will even rule against you because idiocy and feelings now rule the west coast.

Originally posted by @Matt Sullivan :

@Andy Webb I’ve never had the apartment deleaded... I know tenants can force landlords to delead if there are concerns with newborns or toddlers.

Long story short, there’s two tenants. One just moved out so I need to do a new lease agreement with the tenant staying and their new roommate... the tenant staying just got a new girlfriend pregnant. She’s not on any lease paperwork and not the new roommate, but has been staying there frequently. I want this to be temporary as it’s a very desirable apartment... it’s kind of a messy situation but I want to go about it the right way

 In case this wasnt mentioned - if the lease is not expired you cant do a new one - you need to just remove the tenant that left and add the new tenant (after getting an application/screening) to the existing lease....   if you want to be sure to have them move when the lease expires be sure to read all your local laws about non renewal dates, notices etc.