What is Fair Housing?#
All persons are entitled equal access to housing. Fair housing laws were enacted to provide equal housing opportunities. It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of a person's protected class in the sale, rental or financing of housing. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: National Fair Housing Act. (1968, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act, and 1988 Amendments), protected classes include: sex, national origin, familial status (including children under 18), race, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation, color, creed, marital status, or retaliation for opposing a discriminatory practice.
The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In some circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.
What Is Prohibited?#
In the Sale and Rental of Housing: No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap:
- Refuse to rent or sell housing
- Refuse to negotiate for housing
- Make housing unavailable
- Deny a dwelling
- Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
- Provide different housing services of facilities
- Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
- For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent
- Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.
In addition, it is illegal for anyone to:
- Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right
- Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preferences based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.