Fair-housing laws do not require that homeowners rent to smokers

Real Estate Q&A with Christopher Combs
AZ Republic

Question: My husband is a university professor, and he will be teaching as a visiting professor at Cambridge University in England next year. We intend to return to Arizona after one year, so we are renting our home in Chandler. We do not want to rent to smokers because we do not want the smell of smoke in our home when we return. A lady whose brother is an attorney said that we must rent to her even though she is a smoker because smokers have equal rights to get housing. Do we have to rent to smokers?

Answer: No. Smokers are not a protected class such as race, sex, or familial status under the fair-housing laws, and you are entitled to refuse to rent to smokers. Similarly, landlords can discriminate against college students, unrelated single adults and illegal aliens, provided that the real reason for the discrimination is not based on the prospective tenant being a member of a protected class such as race or religion.

Read article online here.

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