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Fair Housing Information for Housing Providers
THE FEDERAL FAIR HOUSING ACT
THE FAIR HOUSING ACT
You may be a first time housing provider. This fact sheet provides some basic information about a housing provider’s responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. The federal Fair Housing Act generally prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, gender, and disability. The Fair Housing Act ensures that all persons receive equal housing opportunity.
What Housing Is Covered?
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.
The Fair Housing Act Provides protection for Immigrants
Fair Housing Act protects all people against prohibited discrimination, regardless of their legal status in the United States. In addition, the Act expressly prohibits discrimination because of national origin.
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 disability:
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 or facilities
Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting)
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 mortgage lending, no one may take any of the following actions on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability:
Refuse to make a mortgage loan;
Refuse to provide information regarding loans;
Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees;
Discriminate in appraising property;
Refuse to purchase a loan; or
Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan
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 preference on the basis of 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.
Prohibition Against Discriminatory Advertising
It is unlawful to make, print, or publish any statement, in connection with the sale or rental of a dwelling, that indicates a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, disability, familial status, or national origin. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.
Example: A housing provider posts an advertisement in the newspaper that states that s/he does not rent to Blacks or families with children.
The Fair Housing Act provides additional protections for individuals with disabilities.
Definition of Disability
Federal laws define a person with a disability as “Any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment.”In general, a physical or mental impairment includes hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex, and mental retardation that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include walking, talking, hearing, seeing, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks, and caring for oneself.
Prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities
It is unlawful for a housing provider to refuse to rent or sell to a person simply because of a disability. A housing provider may not impose different application or qualification criteria, rental fees or sales prices, and rental or sales terms or conditions than those required of or provided to persons who are not disabled.
Example: A housing provider may not refuse to rent to an otherwise qualified individual with a mental disability because s/he is uncomfortable with the individual’s disability. Such an act would violate the Fair Housing Act because it denies a person housing solely on the basis of their disability.
Requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities
A reasonable accommodation 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.
Example: A housing provider would make a reasonable accommodation for a tenant with mobility impairment by fulfilling the tenant’s request for a reserved parking space in front of the entrance to their unit, even though all parking is unreserved.
Example: A building with a “no pets” policy would make a reasonable accommodation for a visually impaired tenant by allowing the tenant to keep a guide dog.
From HUD’s website
FEDERAL FAIR HOUSING LAWS
- Fair Housing Act – Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability).
- Fair Housing Act-Tenant Rights
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – Section 504 prohibits discrimination based on disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
- Section 109 of Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 – Section 109 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or religion in programs and activities receiving financial assistance from HUD’s Community Development and Block Grant Program.
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 – Title II prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs, services, and activities provided or made available by public entities. HUD enforces Title II when it relates to state and local public housing, housing assistance and housing referrals.
- Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 – The Architectural Barriers Act requires that buildings and facilities designed, constructed, altered, or leased with certain federal funds after September 1969 must be accessible to and useable by handicapped persons.
- Age Discrimination Act of 1975 – The Age Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.
- Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 – Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.