Finding suitable and affordable rental housing can be a challenge for anyone, but for single mothers, the journey can be even more daunting.

Unfortunately, some landlords may discriminate against single mothers during the rental application process, creating additional barriers and hardships. This article aims to explore the issue of discrimination against single mothers in the rental market and shed light on the experiences they face.

We will delve into the possible reasons behind such discrimination, examine the existing laws and regulations designed to protect single mothers, and discuss strategies that single mothers can employ to improve their chances of finding suitable rental housing.

Furthermore, we will highlight success stories and examples of landlords who actively support and rent to single mothers, showcasing the importance of fostering inclusive and equal housing opportunities. By addressing this issue and promoting understanding, we can contribute to a more equitable rental market where single mothers are treated with fairness and respect.

Do landlords discriminate against single mothers when renting?

Yes, it is unfortunately true that some landlords may discriminate against single mothers during the rental application process. Discrimination based on family status, including being a single parent, is considered illegal in many jurisdictions. However, despite legal protections, there are instances where single mothers face bias and unfair treatment from landlords.

Discrimination can manifest in various ways. Some landlords may explicitly state that they do not want to rent to single mothers, either in their advertisements or during the application process. Others may impose stricter criteria or additional requirements for single mothers compared to other applicants. This can include demanding higher income levels, larger security deposits, or insisting on guarantors.

The reasons behind this discrimination can vary. Landlords may hold stereotypical beliefs about single mothers, such as assumptions about financial instability or concerns about property damage. Some landlords may fear that single mothers will be unable to meet their rental obligations due to perceived limitations on income or support networks.

It is important to note that these discriminatory practices are unjust and perpetuate inequality. They disregard the individual circumstances and qualifications of single mothers, denying them equal access to housing opportunities and exacerbating the challenges they may already face.

However, it is essential to recognize that not all landlords discriminate against single mothers. Many landlords are fair, compassionate, and assess prospective tenants based on their qualifications and ability to meet the rental requirements. Legal protections and advocacy efforts are in place to combat discrimination and promote equal housing opportunities for single mothers and other marginalized groups.

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Why do some landlords discriminate against single mothers?

Why do some landlords discriminate against single mothers?

Discrimination or reluctance to rent to single mothers can stem from various reasons, although it is important to note that these reasons are based on misconceptions and biases rather than valid justifications. Some possible factors contributing to this discrimination include:

  1. Stereotypes and misconceptions: Landlords may hold stereotypes and misconceptions about single mothers, assuming that they may be financially unstable or unable to maintain the property adequately. These biases can stem from societal stereotypes or personal biases, perpetuating discrimination.
  2. Concerns about income stability: Some landlords may wrongly assume that single mothers have unstable or insufficient income to meet their rental obligations. They may have unfounded concerns about their ability to pay rent regularly or fear potential financial difficulties.
  3. Property damage concerns: Landlords might have unfounded concerns about single mothers’ ability to maintain the property or worry about potential damages caused by children. These concerns often stem from generalizations or stereotypes and do not reflect the responsible behavior and care exhibited by many single mothers.
  4. Perception of added responsibilities: Some landlords may believe that renting to a single mother will involve additional responsibilities or complexities, such as accommodating childcare needs or potential disruptions caused by children. These assumptions may not align with the reality of many single mothers’ ability to balance their responsibilities effectively.
  5. Risk aversion: Landlords may be risk-averse and prefer tenants who fit their perceived ideal profile, such as dual-income couples or individuals without dependents. This risk aversion may lead to discrimination against single mothers, even though there is no valid evidence to suggest that they are inherently higher risk tenants.
  6. Lack of awareness about legal protections: Some landlords may be unaware of the legal protections in place to prevent discrimination based on family status, including being a single parent. This lack of awareness may result in discriminatory practices.
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It is important to challenge these biases and misconceptions, promoting fair and equal treatment of all prospective tenants, regardless of their family status. Legal frameworks and education efforts play a crucial role in combating discrimination and ensuring that single mothers have equal access to housing opportunities.

Are there laws protecting single mothers from housing discrimination?

Yes, there are laws and regulations in place to protect single mothers, as well as other individuals, from housing discrimination. These laws aim to ensure equal access to housing opportunities for everyone, regardless of their family status. While specific legislation may vary across different countries and regions, I will provide a general overview of some common legal protections:

  1. Fair Housing Act (United States): In the United States, the Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on various protected characteristics, including familial status. This federal law makes it illegal to refuse to rent or sell housing, impose different terms or conditions, or provide different services or facilities based on someone being a single mother.
  2. Human Rights Act (Canada): In Canada, the Human Rights Act at the federal level, as well as similar legislation at the provincial and territorial levels, protects individuals from discrimination in various aspects of life, including housing. This legislation prohibits discrimination based on family status, ensuring that single mothers are not unfairly treated in housing matters.
  3. Equality Act (United Kingdom): In the United Kingdom, the Equality Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on protected characteristics, which include being a single mother. Landlords are required to treat all applicants equally, without discriminating against them based on their family status.
  4. Anti-Discrimination Laws (Various Countries): Many countries have their own anti-discrimination laws that protect individuals from housing discrimination. These laws often include provisions to safeguard single mothers from unfair treatment during the rental process.

It is important to consult the specific legislation and regulations in your jurisdiction for a comprehensive understanding of the legal protections provided to single mothers. Additionally, it is crucial for single mothers who believe they have experienced housing discrimination to be aware of their rights and seek legal recourse through appropriate channels, such as filing complaints with relevant government agencies or seeking legal representation.

How can single mothers improve their chances of finding rental housing?

Single mothers can take several steps to improve their chances of finding suitable rental housing:

  1. Research and planning: Begin by conducting thorough research on the local rental market. Understand the average rental prices in your desired area and the types of housing available. This information will help you set realistic expectations and make informed decisions.
  2. Budgeting: Create a budget that reflects your income, expenses, and the rental amount you can comfortably afford. Landlords often require proof of income, so having a clear understanding of your financial situation will demonstrate your ability to meet rental obligations.
  3. Build a strong rental application: Prepare a comprehensive rental application package that includes relevant documents such as proof of income, bank statements, references from previous landlords, and any other documents that can demonstrate your reliability as a tenant. Presenting a well-organized and professional application will help you stand out to potential landlords.
  4. Utilize personal networks: Reach out to friends, family, and community organizations for potential leads on rental opportunities. Networking can sometimes uncover hidden gems or provide recommendations for landlords who are open and supportive.
  5. Seek assistance from housing organizations: There are various nonprofit organizations and social services that provide support and resources specifically for single mothers in need of housing. These organizations can offer guidance, connect you with affordable housing options, or provide financial assistance.
  6. Communicate effectively: When contacting landlords or attending property viewings, ensure you present yourself professionally and communicate your needs clearly. Highlight your strengths as a responsible tenant, emphasizing your ability to maintain the property and meet rental obligations.
  7. Consider government housing programs: Investigate whether there are any government-sponsored housing programs or subsidies available for single mothers in your area. These programs can provide financial assistance or access to affordable housing options.
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Remember, persistence is key. Finding suitable rental housing may require time and effort, but by staying proactive, seeking assistance when needed, and presenting yourself as a responsible tenant, you can enhance your chances of securing a suitable rental home for you and your family.

Are there resources for single mothers to find housing assistance?

Yes, there are resources and organizations that specifically assist single mothers in securing housing. These organizations aim to provide support, guidance, and resources to help single mothers find safe and affordable housing options. Here are some examples:

  1. Local Housing Authorities: Contact your local housing authority or public housing agency. They can provide information about housing assistance programs, subsidized housing, and rental vouchers that can help single mothers afford housing in their area.
  2. Nonprofit Housing Organizations: Numerous nonprofit organizations focus on assisting single mothers with housing needs. Examples include Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Housing, and Women’s Shelters. These organizations may offer affordable housing options, rental assistance, and supportive services tailored to the needs of single mothers.
  3. Single Parent Support Groups: Joining single parent support groups or organizations can provide valuable connections and resources. These groups often have networks, knowledge, and firsthand experiences that can assist you in finding suitable housing options.
  4. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): TANF is a federal program in the United States that provides financial assistance and other supportive services to low-income families, including single mothers. Contact your local Department of Social Services or Human Services to inquire about TANF benefits and housing assistance.
  5. Community Action Agencies: Community Action Agencies are organizations that offer various programs to assist low-income individuals and families. They may provide resources and support for housing, energy assistance, and other needs. These agencies can be found at the local or state level.
  6. Online Resources: Utilize online resources such as websites and forums dedicated to assisting single mothers in finding housing. Websites like Single Mothers Outreach, Single Mothers by Choice, or local community forums can provide information, advice, and connections to available housing resources.

When seeking assistance from these organizations or resources, it is important to provide relevant information about your circumstances, such as your income level, family size, and any specific housing needs. This information will help them better tailor their support to your situation.

Remember to reach out to local resources and organizations specific to your region, as availability and services may vary.

What can single mothers do if they face discrimination during the rental process?

If a single mother encounters discrimination during the rental process, there are several steps she can take to address the situation:

  1. Document the incident: Keep a record of any discriminatory actions or statements made by the landlord or property manager. Note down dates, times, and details of the discriminatory behavior. If possible, gather any evidence such as emails, texts, or voicemails that demonstrate the discrimination.
  2. Know your rights: Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations in your jurisdiction that protect against housing discrimination based on family status. Understand the specific protections afforded to single mothers and the avenues available for recourse.
  3. Contact local fair housing agencies: Reach out to local fair housing agencies or organizations that specialize in addressing housing discrimination. They can provide guidance, investigate the complaint, and advocate on your behalf. They may also have resources to help you navigate the process effectively.
  4. File a complaint: If you believe you have been a victim of housing discrimination, consider filing a formal complaint with the appropriate authority. This could be a local fair housing agency, a human rights commission, or any government agency responsible for addressing discrimination in housing. Provide them with all relevant documentation and information about the incident.
  5. Seek legal assistance: If the discriminatory behavior persists or you require further support, consult with an attorney specializing in housing discrimination. They can provide legal advice, help you understand your rights, and represent you if necessary.
  6. Raise awareness: Share your experience with trusted friends, family, and community organizations. By raising awareness about housing discrimination, you can help shed light on the issue and encourage others to take action against such unfair practices.
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Remember that addressing discrimination can be a complex and challenging process. It is crucial to seek support, gather evidence, and follow the appropriate legal channels. By taking action, you can help combat discrimination and contribute to creating a fairer and more inclusive housing market for all individuals, including single mothers.

Are there landlords who actively support and rent to single mothers?

Are there landlords who actively support and rent to single mothers?

Yes, there are many success stories and examples of landlords who actively support and rent to single mothers. While discrimination exists, it is important to highlight the landlords who embrace diversity and provide equal opportunities for single mothers. Here are a few examples:

  1. Landlords with a social mission: Some landlords or property management companies have a social mission to provide affordable and inclusive housing. They actively seek out single mothers as tenants and create supportive environments for them. These landlords understand the challenges single mothers may face and provide resources and assistance to ensure their success as tenants.
  2. Community-based rental programs: In certain communities, rental programs are specifically designed to support single mothers in finding suitable housing. These programs collaborate with landlords who are willing to rent to single mothers and provide financial assistance, case management, and other supportive services to ensure successful tenancies.
  3. Nonprofit organizations as landlords: Certain nonprofit organizations act as landlords themselves, offering housing options specifically for single mothers. These organizations often provide affordable rents, support services, and a sense of community for single mothers and their children.
  4. Landlords promoting fair housing: Many landlords actively promote fair housing practices and reject discrimination in all forms. They have inclusive rental policies and treat all applicants fairly, without regard to family status. These landlords understand the value of diverse tenants and strive to create a welcoming and inclusive rental environment.
  5. Personal stories of support: There are individual landlords who have personal experiences or connections to single motherhood, which motivates them to support and rent to single mothers. These landlords empathize with the challenges faced by single mothers and provide a supportive environment where they can thrive.

These success stories and examples demonstrate that there are landlords who actively work to ensure equal housing opportunities for single mothers. By highlighting these positive experiences, we can encourage other landlords to adopt fair practices and foster an inclusive rental market for all individuals, regardless of their family status.


In conclusion, while discrimination against single mothers in the rental market is a reality, it is essential to recognize that not all landlords hold biases or perpetuate discriminatory practices. By understanding the possible reasons behind such discrimination, we can challenge misconceptions and promote fair treatment for single mothers seeking housing.

The existence of laws and regulations protecting single mothers from housing discrimination is a crucial step in addressing this issue, and it is important for single mothers to be aware of their rights and take appropriate action when faced with discrimination. Moreover, the stories of landlords who actively support and rent to single mothers provide hope and inspiration, demonstrating that inclusive and equitable housing practices are not only possible but beneficial for both landlords and tenants.

By sharing these success stories, raising awareness, and advocating for change, we can work towards creating a rental market that embraces diversity, supports single mothers, and ensures that every individual has equal access to safe and suitable housing.

About the author 

Eric Lee

Eric, Co-Founder of REIInsiders, brings extensive real estate investing expertise and a finance background to drive growth and oversee marketing and business development efforts.

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