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EQUAL HOUSING LAWS

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO), administratively enforces Federal statutes, executive orders and regulations designed to afford all persons an equal opportunity to live in housing of their choice and to participate in HUD-assisted programs and activities. The Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 , as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions. The following types of discrimination are prohibited:


Race

It is illegal to discriminate because of race or color in the sale, rental, or financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions.
Examples of such discrimination include:
  • Applying different terms and conditions of housing because of race or color
  • Denying a housing application, a dwelling, or evicting persons because of race or color
  • Steering or restricting persons to one area of a building or complex because of race or color
  • Housing advertisements stating that persons are preferred or not wanted because of race or color

Color

It is illegal to discriminate because of race or color in the sale, rental, or financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions.
Examples of such discrimination include:
  • Applying different terms and conditions of housing because of race or color
  • Denying a housing application, a dwelling, or evicting persons because of race or color
  • Steering or restricting persons to one area of a building or complex because of race or color
  • Housing advertisements stating that persons are preferred or not wanted because of race or color

National Origin

It is illegal to discriminate because of national origin in the sale, rental, or financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions.
Examples of such discrimination include:
  • Housing advertisements stating that persons are not wanted because of national origin
  • Administering rules and procedures that unfairly target persons because of national origin
  • Denying a housing application, a dwelling, or evicting persons because of national origin
  • Steering or restricting persons to one area of a building or complex because of national origin
  • Requiring persons to show extra forms of identification to apply for housing, such as green card, passport or social security card.
  • Housing advertisements stating that persons are preferred or not wanted because of national origin

Religion

It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion in the sale, rental, financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions.
Examples of such discrimination include:
  • Applying different terms and conditions of housing because of religion
  • Denying a housing application, a dwelling, or evicting persons because of religion
  • Steering or restricting persons to one area of a building or complex based on religion
  • Housing advertisements stating that persons preferred or not wanted because of religion

Sex

It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex in the sale, rental, financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions.
Examples of such discrimination include:
  • Applying different terms and conditions of housing because of sex
  • Denying a housing application, a dwelling, or evicting persons because of sex
  • Steering or restricting persons to one area of a building or complex based on sex
  • Housing advertisements stating that persons preferred or not wanted because of sex
  • Refusing to rent to a person who resists the landlord’s sexual advances or to make life difficult for a tenant who has resisted such advances

Sexual Harassment

It is illegal to deny or limit services or facilities in connection with the sale or rental of a dwelling because a person failed or refused to provide sexual favors. Sexual harassment claims include:
  • Making a sexual demand on a resident in order for that resident to get needed maintenance on the apartment, to get a rent concession, or to avoid an eviction; and
  • A “hostile environment” claim, which can give rise to claims concerning the psychological well-being of a resident who can demonstrate such a situation.
Examples of such discrimination include:
  • Refusing to rent to a person who resists the landlord’s sexual advances or to make life difficult for a tenant who has resisted such advances.
  • The landlord tells you he’ll only keep renting to you if you go on a date with him.
  • A maintenance person comes to fix your sink and makes sexual jokes, comments, and gestures to you while there.
  • Your property manager tells you, “I’ll take $100 off your rent-if you.”

Familial Status (Families with Children under 18)

It is illegal to discriminate because of familial status in the sale, rental, or financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions.
Familial status covers the following:
  • families with children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians;
  • pregnant women; and
  • people securing custody of children under the age of 18
Examples of such discrimination include:
  • Housing advertisements stating that children are not wanted
  • Charging families higher rent or related fees because they have a child
  • Restricting families with children to one area of a building or complex
  • Denying housing to families or evicting them because they have a child
  • Administering rules and procedures that unfairly target families with children
  • Denying a mortgage because a person is pregnant or takes maternity leave
  • Charging a higher interest rate because a person is pregnant or takes maternity leave

Disability

Under the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of disability in the sale, rental, financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions.
Examples of such discrimination include:
  • Refusing a person’s request to make, at the expense of a person with a disability,reasonable modifications of existing premises, e.g. installing a ramp or grab bar, when such modification may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
  • Refusing a person’s request for reasonable accommodations, e.g. securing an accessible parking space, waiving no-pet policy, when such accommodation may be necessary to afford such persons full enjoyment of the premises.
  • Asking the nature or severity of a person’s disability, except in very limited circumstances as allowed by law.
  • Charging additional rent or fees for using an assistance animal, when the use of an assistance animal may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises.

DEFINITIONS

Reasonable Accommodations is a change in rules, policies, practices, or services so that a person with a disability will have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit or common space. A housing provider should do everything s/he can to assist, but s/he is not required to make changes that would fundamentally alter the program or create an undue financial and administrative burden. Reasonable accommodations may be necessary at all stages of the housing process, including application, tenancy, or to prevent eviction.
Reasonable Modifications is a structural modification that is made to allow persons with disabilities the full enjoyment of the housing and related facilities.