“Perfect for a single person” or “ideal for empty-nesters” are phrases that may be helpful in illustrating the small size of an available apartment, but the use of such language in a rental advertisement can lead to significant and costly legal issues even for a well-intentioned landlord. Under applicable fair housing laws, if a rental advertisement can be reasonably construed by an ordinary reader to create a preference against certain protected classes of individuals, the intent not to discriminate of a person or entity who publishes the advertisement is insufficient to shield potential liability for discrimination. As such, it is important to carefully scrutinize the language and images in rental advertisements.
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