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Q: We have a tenant who recently added her adult daughter to the lease as an authorized occupant. We just became aware that the daughter recently gave birth, and the baby now lives at the property as well. Can we charge an additional security deposit or increase the rent now that we know there is a baby living there too? 

A: No, no additional security deposit may be requested nor can rent be increased on account of the authorized occupant having a baby. Fair Housing law prohibits charging a higher amount for the security deposit or rent for reasons that relate to familial status. The Virginia Code defines familial status as including, “one or more individuals who have not attained the age of 18 years being domiciled with a parent,” and “includes any person who is pregnant….” Here, that means that no additional cost can be charged to the tenant due to the presence of the baby, nor for the time the authorized occupant was pregnant, as charging an additional amount would constitute discrimination in violation of Fair Housing law. 

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