Rent it Right
Your landlord may be focusing on this exemption, and he may have had it in mind when he rented to you (let's hope he followed the "as long as" requirements just mentioned).
But there's a big problem with his attempt to give you the benefit of the exemption. The exemption applies only to owners, not to tenants like yourselves who are about to become sublandlords. You simply don't qualify for the exemption, and for that reason, you can't legally look only for adults as your subtenants.
You might want to go back to your landlord and discuss your plans and his insistence that no children live in the house. You may want to challenge his assumption that children will necessarily cause more wear and tear (though I have no data to back me up, I'll bet that destruction caused by careless and even willful adults is often as great as or equal to that caused by kids).
If the owner won't budge and is willing to let you leave and come back, the only way for him to ensure that no children live in his property in the interim would be to terminate your lease (with your consent), offer a six-month tenancy and fill it with adults only, then re-rent to you upon its expiration.
Janet Portman is an attorney and managing editor at Nolo. She specializes in landlord/tenant law and is co-author of "Every Landlord's Legal Guide" and "Every Tenant's Legal Guide." She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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