Housing Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against people due to:

  • Race or color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians; pregnant women; and people securing custody of children under 18)
  • Disability

However, it does still happen. It is based in fear and myths.

It is a myth that housing for people with disabilities increases crime rates. Persons with disabilities are more often the victims, rather than the perpetrators, of crime.

It is a myth that housing for people with disabilities lowers property values. In many cases, property values increase in residential neighborhoods, due to the rehabilitation/renovation of an existing property to create housing for people with disabilities.

Know your rights and know what discrimination looks like.

Examples of Housing Discrimination:

False Denial of Availability
It is illegal for a landlord to lie about the availability of housing based on a person's disability. It is illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent to people based on a person's disability.
"Sorry, we just rented the last unit."

Refusal to Deal
Refusing to rent, sell, or even negotiate with a person because of class membership.
"We don't sell to Jews." or "We don't sell to families with children."

Discriminatory Terms and Conditions and Provisions of Services or Facilities
Giving less favorable terms in sales or rental agreements because of class membership.
"The rent is $200 higher for persons with a handicap or persons with friends with a handicap."

Discriminatory Advertising
Indicating any preference, limitation or discrimination because of class membership.
"No African Americans need apply."

Financial Discrimination
Denying any type of home loan for discriminatory reasons by lenders, including banks, savings and loan associations, insurance companies, and others, or giving less favorable loan terms because of class membership. African Americans must not be charged higher interest on loans than similar Caucasian homeowners.

Persuading a homeowner to sell by stating or implying that minority homeowners moving into the area will cause the property values to decline.
"Why don't you let me sell your house? After all, with your minority neighbors moving in, if you don't sell soon, your property value will go down."

Refusal to permit a reasonable modification to the unit at the expense of the person with a handicap, in order that the person may have full enjoyment of the unit.
"You may not install grab bars in the bathroom."

Denial of a reasonable accommodation to the rules and regulations of rental in order that the person with a handicap may have equal opportunity to use and fully enjoy their unit.
"It's against the rules to have another person live with you." (even though there is enough room and the person is necessary to help you with your health needs)

Denial of access to public buildings or common areas in rental housing. It is illegal for local governments to fail to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or procedures to allow people with disabilities to have the same use and enjoyment of housing as people without disabilities.