What LGBT Home Sellers Need to Know about Short Term Renting

When most people decide to sell and then rent for a short term, because of a job opportunity or promotion, or before relocating to another location, or even other reasons, it’s usually no more complicated than filling out an application, making a deposit, and moving in. However, for LGBT partners, that simply isn’t the case.

If you’re in a relationship and just sold your home and need to rent for a short time before the next big thing, you’ll quickly find that renting a place isn’t as easy as you would believe.

The Law and LGBT Discrimination about Housing

Unfortunately, there is no law, although legislation has been proposed, against discrimination regarding same-sex couples and housing, be it buying or renting. It’s a reality that is certainly not fair and one that needs to be changed.

When lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples set out to buy or rent a home, they may confront several forms of discrimination that married heterosexual couples do not face. LGBT couples can face discrimination in access to housing, and there is no federal law against it. Same-sex couples often must pay more in taxes when they buy or sell a home, or transfer ownership interest, than married heterosexual couples do. In the event of a breakup or death, one partner may find himself or herself out of a home – unless the couple had the proper legal documents drawn up. —Human Rights Campaign

There are laws, however, which do protect other “groups”, and those might be a way forward, if the absolute need arises. Age, for instance, is one, as is color, but there are no outright protections for same-sex couples and that presents a problem.

Short Term Renting Problems for LGBT Couples

In nineteen states, same-sec couples can legally marry, however, silent discrimination, along with situations in which a long-term partner passes away, still present problems. In fact, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has found in 2013 that rental management firms are 15 percent less likely to respond to an email sent from openly gay couples. Here are four unique challenges same-sex couples face when trying to secure short term renting:

  1. Domestic violence. For straight couples, if one is accused or guilty of domestic violence, the victim partner is allowed to stay in the rental property. That’s not the case when it comes to same-sex couples. There’s no implicit right for LGBT victims.
  2. Same-sex couples with children. For straight couples, married or unmarried, there are laws about discrimination against couples with children. Here again, same-sex couples, are not extended the same benefits. What’s more, some areas do not rent to LGBT partners with children, according to attorney Dov Treiman, a managing partner of Adam Leitman Bailey.
  3. Adding others to a lease. For married couples, even domestic partners, which are straight, they are typically allowed to add their partner to the lease, but in most cases, same-sex partners do not have that ability.
  4. Right of survivorship. If an LGBT partner passes away and the survivor isn’t on the lease, that presents a real problem in some jurisdictions.

The bottom line is to go into the situation understanding that it might not be smooth sailing and be prepared to exercise other options.