Q: My wife and I have been turned down for a home we tried to rent. Our credit is good, our references are excellent, and we make more than three times the monthly rent -- but I'm a lawyer! The landlord told me she won't rent to lawyers, because she's found them to be hard to deal with. Is this illegal discrimination? --Larry L. A: The landlord you're dealing with has made a categorical decision that anyone in the legal profession is going to pose an unacceptable risk as a tenant. Put another way, it appears that she has not made her decision based on anything in your particular history, but is simply ruling out all attorneys. A decision that's based on a generalization that has no basis in fact is known legally as an arbitrary decision, because it fails to take into account the actual qualities of the person being judged. Your question boils down to whether arbitrary discrimination is illegal in the housing context. The answer will depend on where you live. Under federal f...
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