United States: The FHA's "Mrs. Murphy" Exemption -- A 50 State Guide

As discussed in this space in past posts, our federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) contains a handful of exceptions, the most famous of which is the "Mrs. Murphy Exemption."  This provision in the law provides that a home is exempt from the FHA if the dwelling has four or fewer rental units and the owner lives in one of those units.  The exemption is based upon the hypothetical elderly widow, Mrs. Murphy, who would like to rent part of her home and who may desire to specifically pick out her tenants.

A frequent question we at the Fair Housing Defense blog hear is "I live in [insert name of your state here].  Does the Mrs. Murphy exemption apply?"  The general answer is "Yes" -- because the Mrs. Murphy exemption applies on a federal level to every state in the country.  However, the final answer is often more complicated because many states have their own fair housing laws that provide for more stringent protections than the "floor" set by the FHA.  When enacting their own fair housing laws, each state has the option of providing for the base exemption included in the FHA, but also has the option of limiting or eliminating the exemption under their own fair housing act.  Even though you may be in compliance with the FHA, it's entirely possible that some action that you take might be in violation of other state or local laws, regulations or ordinances. 

As such, please see below a quick "50 State Survey" of the Mrs. Murphy exemption to provide general guidance as to whether your state follows the FHA exemption or has chosen to limit that exemption in some way.  Remember, this survey does not constitute legal advice and you should always consult with a lawyer if you have any questions about this or any other fair housing issue.

Just A Thought.

State

Statute

Recognizes Exemption?

Limitations

Alabama

Ala. Code 1975 § 24-8-7

Yes.

Alabama's Fair Housing Law mirrors the federal exemption

Alaska

AK St § 18.80.240

No

Alaska law provides no Mrs. Murphy exception.

Arizona

AZ ST § 41-1491.01

Yes

Arizona's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Arkansas

A.C.A. § 16-123-306

Limited.

Arkansas recognizes the exemption, however, the exemption will only apply to certain individual property owners who can satisfy additional qualifications outlined in the statute.

California

Cal. Gov. Code § 12927

Limited.

California's Mrs. Murphy exemption only applies to the refusal to rent or lease a portion of an owner-occupied single family house to a person as a roomer or boarder living within the house provided that no more than one roomer or boarder is to live within the household.

Colorado

C.R.S.A. § 24-34-501, 502

Limited.

Colorado exempts from its fair housing laws: (1) a room offered for rent in a single family dwelling maintained and occupied in part by the owner or lessee; and (2) with respect to discrimination based on familial status, Colorado offers a limited exemption.

Connecticut

C.G.S.A. § 46a-64c

Limited.

Connecticut's anti-discrimination laws do not apply (1) to rental of a room or rooms in an owner-occupied single family dwelling unit; or (2) a unit in a dwelling containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than two families living independently of one another if the owner lives in one of the units.

Delaware

6 Del.C. § 4607(e)

Yes.

Delaware's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Florida

F.S.A. § 760.29 (1)(a)2.

Yes.

Florida's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Georgia

Ga. Code. Ann. § 8-3-202

Yes.

Georgia's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Hawaii

HRS § 515-4

Yes.

Hawaii's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Idaho

I.C. § 67-5910

Limited.

Idaho provides an exemption (1) for the rental of housing in a building with units for no more than two (2) families living independently of each other if the lessor or a member of his family resides in one of the units; OR (2) for the rental of rooms in a house if an individual or a member of his family resides therein.

Illinois

775 ILCS 5/3-106

Yes.

Illinois' exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Indiana

IC 22-9.5-3-1

Yes.

Indiana's exemption mirrors the federal exemption

Iowa

I.C.A. § 215.12

Yes.

Iowa's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Kansas

K.S.A. 44-1018

Yes.

Kansas' exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Kentucky

K.R.S. § 344.365

Limited.

Kentucky provides an exemption (1) for the rental of housing in a building with units for no more than two (2) families living independently of each other if the lessor or a member of his family resides in one of the units; OR (2) for the rental of rooms in a house if an individual or a member of his family resides therein.

Louisiana

LSA-R.S. 51:2604

Yes.

Louisiana's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Maine

5 MRSA § 4581(4) (effective September 1, 2012)

Limited.

Maine provides for an exemption that mirrors the federal exemption, as well as an exemption for the rental of a one-family unit of a two-family unit when the owner occupies one of the units.

Massachusetts

M.G.L.c. 151B

Limited..

Massachusetts recognizes a limited exemption for owner-occupied buildings with two or fewer units and a slightly more expansive exemption on the basis of familial status where one unit is occupied by an elderly or infirm person for whom children would be a hardship.

Michigan

M.C.L.A. 37.1503

Limited.

Michigan recognizes a limited exemption for buildings with two or fewer units where the owner or a member of the owner's immediate family occupies the other unit, or, in the case where a room in a single family unit is being rented, the owner or a member of the owner's family resides in the unit.

Minnesota

M.S.A. § 363A.21

Limited.

Minnesota recognizes a limited exemption for buildings with two or fewer units where the owner occupies the other unit, or, in the case where a room in a single family unit is being rented, the owner resides in the unit.

Mississippi

N/A

N/A

Mississippi does not have a state fair housing law, therefore, the federal exemption applies.

Missouri

V.A.M.S. 213.040

Yes.

Missouri's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Montana

MCA 49-2-305

Limited.

Montana recognizes two exemptions: (1) the rental of sleeping rooms in a private residence designed for single-family occupancy in which the owner also resides, provided that the owner rents no more than three sleeping rooms within the residence; and (2) exemption for discrimination based on age or familial status in dwellings for no more than two families living independently of each other if the owner resides in one of the units.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. St. § 20-322

Yes.

Nebraska's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Nevada

10 NV ST 118.010, et seq.

No.

Nevada's housing discrimination act does not contain an exemption.

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. § 354-A:13

Limited.

New Hampshire provides for two exemptions: (1) the rental of a housing accommodation in a building which contains housing accommodations for no more than three families if the owner or a member of his family resides in one of the units; (2) rental of a room in a housing accommodation with no more than 5 such rooms if the owner or a member of the owner's family lives in the building.

New Jersey

N.J.S.A. 10:5-5

Limited.

New Jersey provides exemptions: (1) to the rental of a single apartment or flat in a two-family dwelling, when the owner occupies the other unit; and (2) to the rental of a room or rooms in a one-family dwelling occupied by the owner or occupant at the time of the rental.

New Mexico

N.M.S.A. 1978, § 28-1-9

Yes.

New Mexico's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

New York

McKinney's Exec. Law § 296

Limited.

New York's discrimination laws do not apply to (1) the rental of a housing accommodation in a building that contains housing accommodations for not more than two families if the owner lives in one of the units; (2) to the restriction of rental of all rooms in a housing accommodation to members of the same sex; (3) the rental of a room in a housing accommodation if the rental is by the owner or occupant of the housing accommodation, or (4) strictly with regards to age and familial status with regards to over 55 communities.

North Carolina

N.G.S.A. § 41A-6.

Yes.

North Carolina's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

North Dakota

NDCC 14-02.5-09

Yes.

North Dakota's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Ohio

R.C. § 4112.02

No.

Ohio law does not provide for a Mrs. Murphy exemption

Oklahoma

20 Okl. St. Ann. § 1453(5)(2)

Yes.

Oklahoma's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Oregon

O.R.S. § 659A.421

Limited.

Oregon's exemption permits a landlord to discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation or familial status when renting a space within a single-family residence if the owner actually maintains and occupies the residence as his primary residence and all occupants share some common space within the residence.

Pennsylvania

43 P.S. § 954, 955

Limited.

Pennsylvania's anti-discrimination laws do not apply to "personal residences," which includes a building or structure containing living quarters for two or fewer individuals / groups / families living independently of one another when the owner or lessee or their family members reside in that building or structure.

Rhode Island

Gen Laws. § 34-37-4, et seq.

Yes, limited in some circumstances.

Rhode Island's exemptions differ depending upon which protected class is being discriminated against.

South Carolina

S.C. Code 1976 § 31-21-70

Yes.

South Carolina's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

South Dakota

SDCL § 20-13-20

Limited.

South Dakota's anti-discrimination laws do not apply to units in dwellings that contain living quarters for no more than two families living independently of each of other if the owner lives in the building.

Tennessee

T.C.A. § 4-21-602

Limited.

Tennessee's anti-discrimination laws do not apply (1) to the rental of housing accommodations that contain housing accommodations for not more than two families if the owner or his family member lives in the building; or (2) the rental of a room in a single family housing accommodation if the owner or a member of the owner's family lives there.

Texas

V.T.C.A. Property Code § 301.041

Yes.

The Texas exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Utah

U.C.A. 1953 § 57-21-3

Yes.

The Utah exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Vermont

9 V.S.A. § 4504

Limited.

Vermont's exemption applies if the dwelling unit is in a building with three or fewer units and the owner occupies one of the units.

Virginia

VA Code Ann. § 36-96.2

Yes.

The Virginia exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Washington

RCWA 49.60.222

Yes.

Washington's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code § 5-11A-4

Yes.

West Virginia's exemption mirrors the federal exemption.

Wisconsin

W.S.A. 106.50

No.

Wisconsin does not recognize a Mrs. Murphy exemption.

Wyoming

N/A

N/A

Wyoming does not have a state fair housing act.  Therefore, the Mrs. Murphy exemption applies.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions