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Apartment Hunting With a Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Know Your Rights Before You Start Your Search


If you're looking for an apartment and either you're an alcoholic or you have a drug addiction, you may be concerned that this will cause you problems in your search. But landlords aren't allowed to reject you for either alcoholism or drug addiction. Even if your landlord discovers that you've been convicted for drug use or possession, any attempt to deny you housing would violate federal discrimination laws.

Here's what you need to know about how the law protects you if you're apartment hunting with an alcohol or drug addiction:

  • If you're an alcoholic or a drug addict, you have a disability. The Fair Housing Act considers alcoholism and drug addiction to be a disability. This means that a landlord can't reject your rental application or otherwise discriminate against you simply because you're an alcoholic or a drug addict.

  • You'll have a problem if you currently use illegal drugs. Your landlord may reject you if he learns that you're currently using illegal drugs. Many landlords ask about this on their rental application, and it's perfectly legal to do so.

  • Drug manufacture or distribution convictions can lead to rejection. A landlord may reject you if you've been convicted of the manufacture or distribution of drugs. Unlike a conviction for drug use or possession, manufacture or distribution convictions could indicate you'll engage in drug-related criminal activity at the apartment building.

  • Objectionable behavior isn't protected, regardless of its source. If alcoholism or drug addiction has led you to act violently or in another way that would violate the lease, a landlord can deny you housing.

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