I am a first time landlord in the United States. I am looking to rent out my Philadelphia, PA condo to two people. Two of the applicants (applying together) are promising in terms of their financials, credit report, background check, etc... however I am a bit confused by their relationship given their ages. Am I allowed to ask about their relationship to one another? I see it as somewhat relevant to me, as it potentially changes the dynamic if, for example, one of them loses their job. Can I ask this?

  • 7
    What answer could they give you that could change your yes-or-no decision? You already know they are prospective roommates, and you are going to make them joint and severally liable in the lease (right?) so I am not sure what other relationship information would change their dynamic with you in the event one of them loses their job. If they can't pay, they can't pay and you evict or work out an amendment that you can handle.
    – user662852
    Sep 9, 2020 at 18:52
  • 2
    @user662852 I guess OP may be thinking that if they're close/committed, one might willingly cover the other's share of rent in hard times, while if they're casual friends/roommates, they wouldn't. So while they may be liable either way, there is a cost to evicting/suing, and having tenants who can be expected to "look out for each other" makes it less likely to get to that point.
    – nanoman
    Sep 9, 2020 at 19:44
  • This is an inappropriate question to ask. Sep 9, 2020 at 21:00
  • @nanoman this is exactly what I was getting at
    – Runeaway3
    Sep 9, 2020 at 21:00
  • 1
    I would probably ask this on Law rather than here. Not sure it's on topic here, but you'll definitely get better answers there.
    – Joe
    Sep 9, 2020 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


Relationship status falls under the category of familial status so asking a couple, of any age or gender, if they’re engaged or married is a no-no.

Most states mandate that a landlord may not ask about relationship status. Instead, screen each candidate individually for their fitness to make payment.

Source: https://rentberry.com/blog/questions-landlords-cant-ask

  • 3
    The "familial status" portion of the FHA only prevents discrimination against families with children under 18. It says absolutely nothing about the relationship status between adults - according to the FHA, relationship status does not fall under the category of familial status. About half of states have laws prohibiting questions about whether renters are married, unmarried, etc, but it's not addressed on a federal level by the FHA. Sep 9, 2020 at 21:11
  • fair, updated to reflect that Sep 9, 2020 at 21:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .