Can an owner/landlord refuse to rent to smokers?
QUESTION from a Property Manager: I manage rental properties for a client who doesn’t want people smoking on his property. If we deny a potential tenant’s application because he or she smokes, will this violate any federal fair-housing laws?
RESPONSE FROM THE Texas Association of REALTORS®: No, this will not violate federal fair-housing laws. Federal fair-housing laws make it illegal for the landlord to choose tenants based on their race, color, sex, national origin, religion, handicap, and familial status. However, people who smoke are not a protected class. A landlord can refuse to lease to potential tenants who smoke as long as the landlord consistently enforces such prohibition.