Finding a good and affordable place to live is a challenge many parents face. As the cost of living continues to rise, many parents are struggling to pay all of their bills. In many cities, housing is ridiculously expensive. A family in Arizona took to Reddit to ask about something they thought was strange. Their landlord is trying to charge them a higher rate since the birth of their child. Understandably, they found this request strange, and were looking to see if anyone else had ever experienced such a charge.
While the concept of charging additional rent after the birth of a child is already suspect, the amount was a lot. The landlord is requesting $75 a month extra.
"Today we paid rent and our landlord noticed our little one /asked how old she was and briefly mentioned the extra charge for our baby/how it’s retroactive," she wrote in the post.
She also explains that the baby was born in February, but spent two months in the NICU and had only been home for about a month and a half. So it's likely the landlord was trying to get this $75 charge back all the way to when the baby was born.
"Upon coming home we looked at our lease agreement and sure enough it actually was," she adds. It is worth mentioning that the house is a two bedroom, so it's not as if the couple is cramming an extra person in where there is no room.
"I’m not sure this is actually legal?" she asks.
The short answer is that the landlord's inclusion of such a clause in the lease is definitely suspect. Though it is not explicitly stated in the post, one could make the assumption that the two bedroom house is being rented with the intent of having a child. Also, the lease doesn't state criteria for what is considered an additional occupant. Some comments on the post state that in most places, an occupant is someone over 18, so a newborn certainly wouldn't qualify.
Legally, the additional charge for a child is a violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act. According to HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “You cannot be charged more rent or related fees because you have a child.”
If you find yourself in a similar situation, you could first try to talk to your landlord. Arming yourself with as much information beforehand is your best bet. You can use HUD as a resource, or look into a fair housing organization local to you. Knowing your rights will allow you to decide the best course of action to take. But you definitely have rights.