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Dear Fair Housing Lady,

It’s summertime, and the living is easy, but here at our apartment community we have folks who don’t want to wear swimming suits and swimming trunks in our pool.  I don’t mean that they want to go naked (thank goodness for small favors!) but they want to wear things like their clothes.  Surely I don’t have to allow that (and besides, some of their neighbors think this is weird). Can’t I insist on acceptable swim attire?


Mindy the Manager

Dearest Mindy,

Well, the living may be easy, but managing an apartment community never is, no matter the season.  And every summer we fair housing folks are asked this question.  Keep in mind that there will be wide differences on “acceptable swim attire” based on cultural, religious and even modesty issues (and don’t we sometimes fervently wish that some would actually be more modest?  Think thongs.).  Anyone who does not want to swim in “traditional swim wear” such as swim suit or swim trunks needs to assure their landlord that they have an outfit that is dedicated to swimming and for their use in the pool.  So, if I want to wear a sari, it is one sari for the pool, not just my regular everyday sari; if my sun-phobic husband wants to wear a tee shirt in the pool (and he will!), it is one tee for the pool, not just his street clothes.  If the less-than-traditional swim outfit is likely to harm the pool (dyes that will excessively bleed in the water, fabrics that will yield a lot of fibers or threads) that issue can and should be addressed.  If the neighbors find this weird, that is their issue, but wisdom would dictate you avoid discussions on the topic beyond “that apparel is one dedicated to that person’s use in our pool and we are fine with that.” As a postscript, I would like to add that I am very grateful that “acceptable swim attire” no longer requires the swimming cap of my girlhood – hat hair was bad enough, but then there was the circular indentation running around my head.

Fair Housing Lady is the alter-ego of Nadeen Green, Senior Counsel with For Rent Media SolutionsTM.  While that makes her our attorney, she is not yours, so her information is not legal advice for you.  She would love to have your questions for future newsletter appearances (so she doesn’t have to make the questions up, which is just extra work), so send them to [email protected].

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Nadeen Green is the senior legal counsel for For Rent Media Solutions. She has been an attorney and has taught Fair Housing law to the multi-family housing industry for decades, presenting more than 1,150 programs to management companies and apartment associations nationwide, including the National Apartment Association, IREM and AIM. Her reader-friendly articles and guest blogs appear regularly in publications and on websites, and she blogs as Fair Housing Lady at http://fairhousing.forrent.com/. Nadeen lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Ned.


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