Arbitrary Characteristics

If you are denied an opportunity to rent a home or apartment—or given false information about a rental—because of an arbitrary physical characteristic, you are a victim of illegal housing discrimination. Housing providers cannot refuse to rent to you because you have tattoos, piercings, an uncommon hair style, or because they just don’t like the way you look.

It is also illegal for landlords, maintenance workers, or security personnel to treat in-place residents or their guests unfavorably because of their appearance.

Examples & Warning Signs of Arbitrary Discrimination

  • The landlord treats you well when you speak on the telephone, but changes the terms of the rental or refuses to rent to you after meeting you in person.
  • The landlord says you might not fit into the community because of your appearance.
  • Criminal background checks are only conducted on applicants with certain characteristics. (It is legal to conduct criminal background checks on all applicants.)
  • Refusing to rent, requiring a co-signer, or demanding a higher security deposit for reasons without a legitimate business reason (i.e., bad credit, rental, or income history).

If you suspect that you are a victim of housing discrimination on the basis of arbitrary characteristics, contact the GBLA Fair Housing Law Project.

FHLP Arbitrary Characteristics Discrimination Flyer: English or Spanish