Real estate listings can tricky things to write: since the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, even the slightest slip-up can get someone in trouble. For obvious reasons, no listing would ever contain a phrase like “English-speaking only, please,” but this New YorkTimes article compiles a list of phrases that cannot be printed in a listing. They range from the seemingly innocuous to the bizarre. Here are a few favorites:
- Mormon temple (Actually, any reference to a religious building will probably not appear in a listing, but this one seems strangely specific.)
- Employed (In the article, housing lawyer Diane Houk mentions that disabled persons need not be employed to have income for an apartment.)
- Sophisticated (This is really just a strange request to ask of anyone looking to rent an apartment, honestly.)
- Fisherman’s retreat (This would probably be a hard term to find in any listing even if it weren’t a veiled way of saying “gentleman’s club.”)
A good listing needs to be as general and inclusive as possible. Using the wrong word will not only offend someone, it will probably land you in legal trouble. So, think twice before hyping up the neo-Gothic cathedral across the street.