Avoid fair housing violation when showing apartments

Rent it Right

Q: My wife and I manage a midsized apartment complex in a quiet part of town. We have a mix of residents, some of whom have lived here for many years, and some new families with children. An older couple applied for an apartment and asked to be shown units that were near older, childless families. We actually have an area that has three couples without kids, and there was a unit nearby, so I showed it to them. My wife says this was illegal. Was it? –James J.

A: Your wife is trying to keep your rental business safe from harm, by advising you to never answer or act in a way that may be interpreted as discriminatory. I can imagine that she said to you, "Dear, what you should have told them is that we have several units available; that we’ll show them every one, and they can make a decision based on what they see. If you answer this way, applicants can never say that we steered them to a particular area of the building based on their familial status."