Sep 06

On one of the list I subscribe to a question was asked:

My city is considering an alteration in the ordinance that limits to 3 the number of unrelated occupants in a single family residence .

Throughout the discussion of the change around town and in our newspaper, I have been particularly concerned about the lack of any objective, concrete information that supports the ordinance…

Milwaukee has such an ordinance.  In my view such ordinances violate familiar status protections under Fair Housing laws.  THe upside to you as a property owner is such schemes cause vacancy rates to fall as what is today is one household, will now become two or three.  This may or may not cause rents to fall, dependent on the amount of available housing within a reasonable distance to the school.

There are a couple of good interesting U.S. Supreme Court cases on the issue.  Justice Marshall wrote a very interesting dissent in Belle Terre v. Boraas, 416 U.S. 1 (1974) which was prior to the inclusion of familiar status protections available on line at:A more recent case is Edmonds v. Oxford House, 517 U.S. 725 (1995)

I would encourage you to read both opinions, but here is the most relevant part of Belle Terre:

The instant ordinance discriminates on the basis of just such a personal lifestyle choice as to household companions. It permits any number of persons related by blood or marriage, be it two or twenty, to live in a single household, but it limits to two the number of unrelated persons bound by profession, love, friendship, religious or political affiliation, or mere economics who can occupy a single home. Belle Terre imposes upon those who deviate from the community norm in their choice of living companions significantly greater restrictions than are applied to residential groups who are related by blood or marriage, and compose the established order within the community. 4 The village has, in [416 U.S. 1, 17]   effect, acted to fence out those individuals whose choice of lifestyle differs from that of its current residents.
The bottom line in my opinion is while governments use Fair Housing as a weapon against rental housing providers for the least infractions, they believe themselves to be excluded from fair housing rules and use methods contrary to these rules to enforce their own political and social agendas

2 Responses to “Ordinances restricting number of unrelated occupants”

  1. Terry Pratt says:

    Unfortunately, it is my understanding that familial status applies specifically to families with children and not to unrelated individuals. This was included in a 1988 Fair Housing law passed by Congress and signed by President Reagan.

  2. […] noise as well as decreasing property value.…mily-residence Ordinances restricting number of unrelated occupants |Tim Ballering – Just A Landlord The rules were made clear to Taryn when she moved in: If the city of Minneapolis comes knocking, […]

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