Against Families with Children #2
my landlord require me to supervise my children when they are outside?
The law doesn't allow a landlord to require children to be supervised
when outside unless it there is a compelling reason to justify such.
A "compelling reason" is not something trivial such as
the landlord’s desire for peace and quiet. Rather, a compelling
reason is something that likely posed imminent danger to the child
if the child wasn’t supervised, such as requiring supervision
of young kids in a pool. In this situation, there is a very present
danger. Otherwise, the landlord cannot require supervision of kids
because he doesn’t want kids running around unattended. A
parent is free to allow their children to play outside unsupervised
even if the landlord doesn’t think this is good parenting.
With this in mind, it is illegal for a landlord to require children
to be supervised while playing in the common areas because a young
child "might" wonder off or fall and hurt themselves.
Unless the danger is clearly real and obvious, then a landlord cannot
require supervision of a child. A landlord's fear of "liability"
or concern that a child might get hurt if unsupervised is not legal
grounds to permit him to require tenants to supervise their children.
The landlord must leave such decisions to the parent. As one court
has noted, "Safety judgments are for informed parents to make,
Does a landlord’s concern over liability or fear of getting
sued, allow a landlord to require children to be supervised?
Neither is a legitimate reason to require supervision. Every business
in the country is fearful of these two things, but that does not
mean that it can run roughshod over a person’s legal rights.
By the same token, federal and state fair housing laws expressly
protect the rights of families and children to be free from discrimination
against children. By law, children are allowed to play outside just
so long as there isn’t a compelling reason that would require
supervision. A landlord’s personal fear of liability does
not qualify as a compelling reason that would allow him to usurp
a family’s federal and state fair housing rights. A compelling
reason usually deals with a true, dangerous situation if the child
is left alone, such as small children swimming in a pool unattended.
If the landlord truly has a legitimate safety concern that he is
trying to address, then he must take careful precautions to narrowly
tailor a rule that will deal very specifically with a limited problem.
For example, if the landlord is worried about young children drowning
in the pool, then it is perfectly okay to have a rule that says,
"Children under 14 must be supervised while swimming."
However, the landlord goes too far if, in an effort to solve this
problem, he creates a rule that says, "No children are allowed
to play outside at anytime." Yes, this would also solve the
problem, but the rule is too broad.
a landlord refuse to allow children to play with toys or play outside
because he is worried about liability or is fearful of getting sued?
No. By law,
children are allowed to play outside unless there is a compelling
reason to prohibit it, such as there being a real and present danger
if the child is allowed to play with toys. A landlord’s fear
of getting sued does not give him the right to cancel out such rights.
Courts are concerned about actual, real danger, not possible dangers
that can occur. For example, there is clearly a risk if children
are allowed to shoot bb guns, hit hard baseballs, or throw lawn
darts in the common areas, as an injury could easily occur. Obviously,
a landlord can prohibit such activities. However, there is no such
risk if children toss sponge balls, blow bubbles, play hopscotch,
or play badminton. There is no risk with these activities. A manager
cannot prohibit kids from engaging in such activities.
my landlord prohibit teenagers from socializing?
the rule is specifically aimed at teenagers (e.g. the rule says, "No
teenagers may loiter on the premises") then the rule is illegal.
The landlord is required to treat teenagers equal to adults. A landlord
cannot make rules that single-out teenagers. By the same token, the
landlord cannot refuse to allow teenagers to visit an apartment, simply
because he is worried about them "causing trouble." Teenagers
cannot be singled out. They must be treated equally as adults.
it permissible to have adult-only swimming hours or Jacuzzi time?
No. It is illegal
to exclude children from the pool at anytime while the pool is open.
A complex cannot set aside time for adults only. It is also illegal
to exclude children from the Jacuzzi, unless the child is physically
too young to sit in a Jacuzzi. The pool and Jacuzzi must be accessible
to children during the same hours that it is accessible to adults.
The law does not permit a landlord to make separate rules for children,
no matter how convenient it might be to adults. A child can only
be excluded if it would clearly be too dangerous for the child to use
the facility. Likewise, although landlords may not want teenagers
hanging out in the Jacuzzi, he cannot exclude them from such.
my landlord evict me if my kids make too much noise while playing
inside the apartment?
No. Your landlord will probably be surprised to
learn that he cannot tell your children to quit playing inside of
the apartment. Federal and state fair housing laws expressly require
apartment dwellers to put up with normal, reasonable noise from
children. This noise would clearly include noise made by children
while playing in an apartment, provided that their conduct isn’t
overtly unreasonable (e.g. jumping off their beds at 1 a.m., or
playing the stereo on high late at night) . The manager cannot evict
you if your kids have been making normal noises while playing inside
your apartment, such as laughing, giggling, or rolling on the floor.
To do so is illegal. The law does NOT make another tenant’s
desire for peace and quiet paramount to your children's right to
play in their apartment. To the contrary, the law expressly states
that a desire for peace and quiet is NOT grounds for making rules
against children. Children make noise. That’s part of being
a kid. The law requires landlords and tenants to put up with such
noises. This would include allowing kids to play around inside their
apartment at reasonable hours even if another tenant complains.
the peace and quiet of the community allow the landlord to prevent
kids from playing outside?
The law requires tenants to put up with reasonable noises made by
children. The law expressly states that a desire for peace and quiet
is NOT grounds for making rules against children. Children make
noise. That’s part of being a kid. The law requires landlords
and tenants to put up with such noises. It is illegal to attempt
to silence children so that others will not have to deal with their
noise. Any rule that attempts to do so is illegal and unenforceable.
As such, a landlord cannot prohibit children from playing hopscotch,
Barbies or dolls, hand held video games, reading books, or tossing
soft balls. On the other hand, the landlord can prohibit unreasonable
noise or potentially harmful conduct. Along these lines, the landlord
could prohibit children from playing with hard balls, from throwing
darts, or from playing drums or making noise at an unreasonable