Shawnee, Kansas; May 10, 2023: Yesterday, on behalf of clients HomeRoom, Inc. and Val French, Pacific Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit to overturn Shawnee’s ban on co-living arrangements. 

“As Americans, who we choose to live with is none of the government’s business,” said David Deerson, attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “There is a serious housing affordability crisis and Shawnee is making it worse. This unconstitutional ordinance would even outlaw the living arrangement of television’s “Golden Girls.” 

In 2018, Johnny Wolf launched HomeRoom, Inc., a property management company that provides an innovative solution to the housing affordability crisis plaguing many Americans, especially young adults. The company connects property owners with people seeking roommates through strategic vetting and matchmaking that optimizes harmonious communal living spaces. 

HomeRoom quickly grew from one home to 200 homes in eight states, with more than 1,300 occupied rooms. Demand is stronger in areas where housing supply struggles to keep up with population and Shawnee is no exception. 

But in April 2022, shortly after HomeRoom opened two homes in Shawnee, the city council adopted the “co-living ban. The law prohibits cohabitation of more than three unrelated people in a shared residence. If any one person is unrelated to any other, the entire household is considered “unrelated.” 

The law threatens the households of people like Val French, who opened her home to her son’s girlfriend when she needed a place to live. But Shawnee’s co-living ban would outlaw Val’s act of kindness. 

Represented at no charge by PLF, Johnny and HomeRoom, along with Val, are fighting back with a federal lawsuit to overturn Shawnee’s illegal ordinance. 

The case is HomeRoom, Inc. v. City of Shawnee, Kansas. 


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About Pacific Legal Foundation

Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit law firm that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 18 wins of 20 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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