HUD on Fair Housing and Discriminatory Roommate Advertising

When I blogged about the Roommates.com case recently, I pointed out the Ninth Circuit seemed to assume that if discriminating in one’s choice of roommates is legal, it would also be legal to advertise a discriminatory preference.  I suggested that this wasn’t so clear.  Some commentors thought it was absurd to suggest that HUD would try to penalize expressing discriminatory roommate preferences when advertising for a roommate, given that the underlying discrimination is both legal and protected by the constitutional right to intimate association.  But here is what HUD’s website has to say:

It is illegal for anyone to

  • Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.