August 3, 2006

"Christians Only"

Does a landlord have the right to refuse to rent to non-Christians? This is the question New Jersey officials are seeking to answer after a New Brunswick Christian decided to rent only to Christians. According to this article in the Asbury Park Press, referencing religion on tenant applications is illegal.

This particular case is complicated by the fact that the landlord is renting rooms in his own home. In such a case, where a homeowner is seeking tenants for his/her own home, I think that discrimination should be permitted. In fact, I'd be okay with this guy discriminating against potential tenants on any grounds he can find.

It would be different is we were talking about a rental property other than his home. Supposing he was managing a rental property other than his residence, he should be bound by state and federal housing law. Moreover, I would expect that most people would agree with this distinction.

The source of my interest in this particular story is that the media decided that it was newsworthy. This seems like a clear attempt to incite conflict where little is likely to exist in the first place. It seems like there are enough valid conflicts without manufacturing trivial ones.

Tags: , , , , ,