AgentRentals

Don’t get too specific when posting roommate ad

Rent it Right

Q: I'm looking for a roommate, and I'm pretty picky. I want someone of my own age, and I'd just as soon not have to deal with a divorced parent who will be hosting kids on the weekends. When I wrote an ad with these specifications, my local newspaper wouldn't print it -- they said it was discriminatory! But I placed it on a well-known Web site just as is, with no objections. This makes no sense. Are there different discrimination rules for print and online ads? --Autumn C. A: Your confusion is understandable, and shared by many. The Fair Housing Act, developed in a pre-online world, makes it illegal for newspapers to publish an ad that indicates your preference for someone of a specific race, religion, national origin, disability, sex or familial status. The ad you gave the newspaper was discriminatory because you specified age and familial status (no divorced parents). But why should a Web site escape liability simply because it publishes the ad in a different medium? The...