Let's say I rent a 3 bedroom house in Florida to 3 women from a university in their 20's. Then one moves out and a 40 year old male applicant applies for the vacancy with great numbers on paper. I know that age the gender are not supposed to be criteria, but what is the right answer when the two existing tenants are uncomfortable?

  • Adding the location where this is occurring will help you get a better answer as different places have different rules. We have folks who answer from all over the world and what may be legal in Australia may not be legal in California. Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 19:08
  • @JasonAller Thanks for the advice, I updated my question
    – Josh
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 19:10

1 Answer 1


This could be a violation of the Fair Housing Act, but Fair Housing v. Roommate.com, 521 F.3d 1157 says that

we find that the FHA doesn’t apply to the sharing of living units

The crux of the argument is that a room in a house is not a "dwelling", since it is not a complete living unit. Whether or not courts outside the 9th Circuit follow suit remains to be seen.

Florida state law (760.29) states exceptions to its anti-discrimination laws, covering for instance

Any single-family house sold or rented by its owner, provided such private individual owner does not own more than three single-family houses at any one time.

If that is the case, then the exemption exists if the rental

a. Without the use in any manner of the sales or rental facilities or the sales or rental services of any real estate licensee or such facilities or services of any person in the business of selling or renting dwellings, or of any employee or agent of any such licensee or person; and

b. Without the publication, posting, or mailing, after notice, of any advertisement or written notice in violation of s. 760.23(3)

Another exemption exists if

Rooms or units in dwellings containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than four families living independently of each other, if the owner actually maintains and occupies one of such living quarters as his or her residence.

Your attorney (hint) will be able to interpret that complicated section of the law.

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