Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tyrannical Housing Act

As my roommate will be moving out at the end of January, I have begun the hunt for a new roommate. Ordinarily I would try to find a close friend to live with, but at the moment I don't really have that luxury since all of my closest friends either don't earn enough money to afford living on their own, or don't want to pay for a place when they can live at home for free. Given the present condition of the economy and the housing costs in my little part of the world, I really don't blame them. In addition to letting several of my social groups know of the available room, I also thought it would be prudent to post a few online ads. I was just about to start posting a little ad on Craigslist, which I've had much success with in the past, when I was confronted with the pleasant little warning:

Fair Housing is Everyone's Right!

Stating a discriminatory preference in a housing post is illegal.

When making any posting on craigslist, you must comply with section 3604(c) of the Federal Fair Housing Act. This law generally prohibits stating, in any notice or ad for the sale or rental of a dwelling, a discriminatory preference based on any of the following protected categories:

Race or Color
National Origin
Religion
Sex
Familial Status
Handicap / Disability

--You can be fined more than $10,000 for each discriminatory ad, plus damages in court, plus loss of license if you are a professional

--Avoid phrases which could be interpreted as discriminating by race/color/origin (e.g. 'hispanic area'), religion (e.g. 'christian home'), age / familial status (e.g. 'no kids'), disability, sexual orientation, or source of income

As bad as that is, for my state they have even stricter restrictions. Even stating a preference for age is illegal, such that I could be fined $10,000. Of course, this all completely goes against anything remotely akin to common sense! Not only can I not state what sort of roommates I will and won't allow to live with me, I am not even permitted to state ANY preferences about what sort of person I would like to live with. Now, perhaps if I were a business owner renting my properties to the masses, I can possibly grasp what possessed our egalitarian politicians to create such a law. But, as an individual who does not even own my own property, and will necessarily be sharing my domain with another human being for at least a few months, this "Fair Housing Act" cannot possibly be seen as anything but tyrannical.

Given that one's home is such a sacred and vital place, it is essential that one's roommate be someone who is easy to get along with, who communicates well and who treats the apartment with respect. Beyond those basic essentials, it's a nice bonus if you have a roommate whose presence you actually enjoy. It goes without question that one must be selective in process of choosing a roommate. As such, I really don't see the point in making such selectiveness illegal. It makes no sense! Not only does it not prevent any discrimination from occurring (since I'll choose whoever I damn want to, thank you very much!), but it also makes the entire roommate-finding process needlessly more cumbersome. Since I cannot state any preferences regarding age or lifestyle, I'll have to filter more people out than I would if I could clearly state my criteria in my ad.

Thank you, oh gloriously tyrannical legislatures, for stripping me of my freedom and wasting the time of both my prospective future roommates and myself! Keep writing such marvelous laws that herald the ceaseless progression of our nation towards its new egalitarian utopian form!

6 comments:

  1. This is ridiculous. Just remember that the only tolerable intolerance is intolerance of others' intolerance.

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  2. So what are you going to do? Are you for discrimination??? RACIST!!!

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  3. This is primarily aimed at landlords. Check into it a little more and I think you will find that very small rentals of 2-4 units don't apply to this law. And certainly roomates are allowed to choose whoever they want to.

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  4. Christ ... this is unbelievable.

    Anon ... it does say any posting on Craigslist. Nothing about it applying only to landlords.

    Yeah ... I guess all you can do is personally filter out those applicants who don't meet your criteria, without specifying why.

    Before long, though, the regulating state will up the ante and insist on cultural and sexual diversity within every household. That's what it's there for!

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