The other day a client told me he didn’t have to rent his Minneapolis duplex to a tenant who was a Packer fan.
After all, he maintained, Packer fans are not a protected class according to either the federal or Minnesota fair housing laws.
And he was right.
My client had just purchased a duplex to owner occupy. Because he is going to live there, Packer or Bears fans aren’t the only classes of people he can discriminate against.
Turns out he can refuse to rent to people with children too. While duplex owners cannot refuse to sell, rent or lease a unit to prospective tenants on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual or affectional orientation, disability, public assistance or who have children.
The exception to this is when the duplex owner lives on the premises. He or she may then refuse to rent to tenants with children. A landlord may also refuse to rent to people with children if the property serves as housing for the elderly.
While the law states nothing about refusing to rent to Packers fans, it’s probably not a good idea. Discrimination, in any form, is a recipe for a lawsuit.