Mississippi does not directly prohibit landlords from discriminating against tenants based on their age. However, landlords should be careful to avoid discriminating against children and families (whom are protected under federal law). Additionally, discriminating against a senior because of their disability is prohibited under federal and state fair housing law which protects those with mental and physical health conditions.
Segregating by Age
A typical technique by landlords to minimize conflict between tenants is to group sections of buildings or advertise units for certain ages. For example, a landlord may advertise a trendy and loud neighborhood to younger tenants. A landlord might list a home in a quiet neighborhood is best for the elderly. Mississippi landlords are free to advertise units as ideal for certain age groups and to deny housing to people who do not fit those criteria since there is no law prohibiting discrimination by age.
Mississippi has no direct protections against landlords discriminating against the elderly. This means, for the most part, landlords are free to put (and advertise) age restrictions on buildings, to separate the elderly from other tenants, and to charge the elderly more for rent or other services.
In Mississippi, young adults and college students are not protected from discrimination by landlords based on their age. This allows landlords to charge higher rent to students (or inversely, lower rent to older tenants), to prohibit students from renting, to advertise units as being unavailable to students, or to otherwise treat students as a high-risk tenant.
Children and Families
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against children, families, and pregnant women in Mississippi (and all US states). Due to this anti-discrimination law, Mississippi landlords cannot designate an apartment as being suitable for children, charge different rents or prices to families, advertise that there’s a preference for tenants without children, or prevent children from accessing the same amenities and facilities as adults (e.g., a sign that says, “no children in the laundry area”).
The consequences are different based on whether the discrimination is against children or adults.
If the discrimination was against children or familial status, the tenant may report the problem to federal authorities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It can be done online or via phone.
Reporting a Violation
Tenants may report violations of federal laws (i.e., discrimination against children and families) through the HUD website – it can be done online or via phone. Tenants can report issues to their state government by looking at the state website. A google search for “report fair housing violation in Mississippi” will likely provide applicable information. In either case, tenants may be able to call the number on the page to ask whether their situation legally qualifies as rental discrimination.
Retaliation by the Landlord
Federal law (the https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/online-complaintFair Housing Act ) makes it illegal for landlords to harass a tenant in retaliation for reporting a problem. Examples of such harassment may include raising the rent or threatening to evict the tenant. Each such attempt is an additional violation. These protections do not apply if the tenant complained about something that they don’t have right to, so tenants should know whether it’s a violation. Dept of Housing and Urban Development.