|The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:
What Housing Is Covered?
- Race or color
- National origin
- 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)
- Handicap (Disability)
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:
In Mortgage Lending: 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 or facilities
- Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
- For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting) or
- 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:
- 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.
Additional Protection If You Have a Disability
- 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
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.
If you or someone associated with you:
your landlord may not:
- Have a physical or mental disability (including hearing, mobility and visual
impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related
Complex and mental retardation) that substantially limits one or more major
- Have a record of such a disability or
- Are regarded as having such a disability
Example: A building with a "no pets" policy must allow a visually impaired
tenant to keep a guide dog.
- Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common
use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the
housing. (Where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if you
agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move.)
- Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or
services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing.
Example: An apartment complex that offers tenants ample, unassigned parking
must honor a request from a mobility-impaired tenant for a reserved space
near her apartment if necessary to assure that she can have access to her
However, housing need not be made available to a person who is a direct
threat to the health or safety of others or who currently uses illegal
Requirements for New Buildings
In buildings that are ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, and
have an elevator and four or more units:
All units must have:
- Public and common areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities
- Doors and hallways must be wide enough for wheelchairs
If a building with four or more units has no elevator and will be ready for
first occupancy after March 13, 1991, these standards apply to ground floor
- An accessible route into and through the unit
- Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other
- Reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars and
- Kitchens and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs.
These requirements for new buildings do not replace any more stringent
standards in State or local law.
Housing Opportunities For Families
Unless a building or community qualifies as housing for older persons, it
may not discriminate based on familial status. That is, it may not
discriminate against families in which one or more children under 18 live
Familial status protection also applies to pregnant women and anyone
securing legal custody of a child under 18.
- A parent
- A person who has legal custody of the child or children or
- The designee of the parent or legal custodian, with the parent or
custodian's written permission.
Exemption: Housing for older persons is exempt from the prohibition against
familial status discrimination if:
A transition period permits residents on or before September 13, 1988, to
continue living in the housing, regardless of their age, without interfering
with the exemption.
- The HUD Secretary has determined that it is specifically designed for and
occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government
- It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older or
- It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of
the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates an intent to
house persons who are 55 or older.