Colorado law prohibits any advertisement for housing (whether for sale or rental) that “indicates any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on disability, race, creed, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, national origin, or ancestry.” C.R.S.A. § 24-34-502 (d).
Discriminatory advertising can be direct and obvious: “non-white renters needs not apply,” or indirect and more subtle: “not ideal for children.” The first example clearly indicates a limitation of rental based on race and color, the second example indicates a preference based on familial status. Both examples violate the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act’s (CADA) prohibition on discriminatory advertisement.
More Information on familial status discrimination
Federal and state fair housing laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of Familial Status. Familial status has a relatively lengthy statutory definition, (see C.R.S.A. § 24-34-501 (1.6)), but it can be simply stated as any household where one or more persons is under the age of 18, and also includes pregnant women. The familial relationship can be biological, legal, temporary, and/or informal (through written permission of a parent or guardian). Because federal and state fair housing law is substantially similar, we can look to guidance from HUD’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Office (FHEO) for guidance on this subject. FHEO provides the following examples of familial status discrimination:
An example of an overly restrictive rule would be an HOA with a community pool with the following rule: “No Children Under the Age of 5 Allowed in the Pool Area.” This rule overtly restricts access based on familial status – it excludes families with children under five years of age from the full and equal enjoyment of the premises. While rules related to bonafide and legitimate safety concerns, (e.g. “No Diving”) are permissible, a rule that prevents a five year old from even sitting on the pool deck is unnecessarily restrictive. Such rules are discriminatory even if the intent behind them was not. You can read a legal opinion issued by HUD on the subject of pool and recreation room rules and familial status here.
Real estate broker and mortgage loan originator licensees need to be aware of both the Federal and State anti-discrimination laws when it comes to advertising, MLS entries, representing clients and showing homes. Taking one of CCRD’s Fair Housing classes is a great way to be knowledgeable about and recognize discriminatory practices that are occurring in the real estate marketplace.
While an HOA cannot be discriminatory in its actions, it can impose restrictions on homeowners. For example, while an HOA cannot be overly restrictive about children’s use of a common area, they can restrict noise levels and implement what is known as “quiet hours”, and they can further restrict the time a common area such as a pool can be used and what age group can use the pool without an adult present.
Also note that certain communities such as 55+ communities can and often do restrict the age of those that can live there. These 55+ communities can also request that those who obtain a child through birth, adoption or custody not reside in the community.
Remember to always check the HOA’s governing documents for any restrictions the community may have that may impact you or your family.
Division of Real Estate