Grandparents who accept the care of their grandchildren may face housing problems: sometimes the home is not large enough to accommodate the bigger family, sometimes there are restrictions on the apartment in which the grandparents live. Browse through the page below to get answers to common housing questions.

Can a landlord refuse to rent or sell an apartment to me because I have a grandchild?
No. Landlords cannot refuse to rent or sell to you because you have a grandchild. The landlord cannot discriminate against you (or anyone) because you have children. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

What are the exceptions to the rule that landlords cannot refuse to rent or sell to people with children?
A landlord can refuse to rent or sell an apartment to people with children when the grandparent lives in:

  • an apartment building for seniors
  • a house or a mobile home for one or two families if the owner also lives there
  • mobile home parks which are exclusively for people aged 55 years or older

If I live in housing for seniors and my grandchild moves in with me, can I be asked to leave?
Yes. If you live in housing for seniors and your grandchild moves in with you, you will probably be asked to leave. If that happens you should ask for assistance with a transfer to another apartment.

I live in a public housing authority building - Can my grandchild move in with me?
Public Housing Authorities have strict rules about who can be considered to be part of a "family" and who can be added to the lease. Housing Authorities expect to be told by you, who plans to move into your apartment with you. The rules are different from county to county. Remember that…

  • the income of those living in the apartment determines the amount of rent that is paid
  • the rent of grandparents who live in public housing may be increased when a grandchild with income moves in
  • the grandchild's income may be from social security benefits, public assistance or a job

According to the rules, this income must be reported and will be used to determine the amount of rent that those who live in the apartment will pay. As a result, an increase in the rent may occur.

Public Housing Authorities have to listen to you when you request a hearing to appeal or review a decision made by the Housing Authority. If the Housing Authority tells grandparents that they have to get custody or guardianship of their grandchildren in order to be able to stay in the apartment, the grandparents should contact their nearest legal services or legal aid office, or the local bar association (association of lawyers for assistance).

Copyright 1994-2001- HELP for Grandparent Caregivers

Grandparent Caregiver Law Center of the Brookdale Center on Aging of Hunter College