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Fair Housing Act

If you feel that you have been discriminated against, you can do something about it. However, you need to make sure that you have a valid reason before you take action.

If, for instance, you were told by a manufactured home dealer that they could not help you and you have no income, no down payment and have not answered any questions in a reasonable manner then that is not discrimination. You can't expect anyone to perform miracles.

If, on the other hand, there is no obvious reason for their actions and it just doesn't feel right, then you might want to check into the situation.

Below are excerpts from the Fair Housing Act. You should read through it carefully. There are also addresses included to contact HUD in the event that you find you have been discriminated against.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:

  • 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)
  • 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.

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 (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) 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 Mortgage Lending, No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap (disability):

  • Refuse to make a mortgage loan
  • Fail 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 based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap (disability). This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.

Additional Protection If You Have A Disability - If you or someone associated with you:

  • 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 life activities
  • Have a record of such a disability or
  • Are regarded as having such a disability your landlord may not:
  • 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: A building with a "no pets" policy must allow a visually impaired tenant to keep a guide dog.

    • 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 apartment. 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 drugs.

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:

  • Public and common areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities
  • Doors and hallways must be wide enough for wheelchairs
  • All units must have:
    • - An accessible route into and through the unit
    • - Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls
    • - Reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars and
    • - Kitchens and bathrooms that can be used by people in 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 units.

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 with:

  • 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. Familial status protection also applies to pregnant women and anyone securing legal custody of a child under 18. Exemption: Housing for older persons is exempt from the prohibition against familial status discrimination if:
  • The HUD Secretary has determined that it is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government program or
  • 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.

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.

If You Think Your Rights Have Been Violated HUD can help with any problem of housing discrimination. If you think your rights have been violated, you may write a letter or telephone the HUD office nearest you. You have one year after an alleged violation to file a compliant with HUD, but you should file it as soon as possible. What to Tell HUD:

  • Your name and address
  • The name and address of the person your complaint is against (the respondent)
  • The address or other identification of the housing involved
  • A short description of the alleged violation (the event that caused you to believe your rights were violated)
  • The date(s) of the alleged violation

Where to Write or Call: Send a letter to the fair housing office nearest you, or if you wish, you may call that office directly. (The direct dial and TTY numbers for the hearing impaired are not toll free.)

For Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont:

Fair Housing Enforcement Center
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr.
Federal Building
10 Causeway Street, Room 321
Boston, Massachusetts 02222-1092
(617) 565-5308
1-800-827-5005
TTY (617) 565-5453

For New Jersey and New York:

Fair Housing Enforcement Center
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
26 Federal Plaza, Room 3532
New York, New York 10278-0068
(212) 264-9610
1-800-496-4294
TTY (212) 264-0927

For Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia:

Fair Housing Enforcement Center
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107-3380
(215) 656-0660
1-888-799-2085
TTY (215) 656-3450

For Alabama, the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee:

Fair Housing Enforcement Center
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Richard B. Russell Federal Building
75 Spring Street, SW, Room 230
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3388
(404) 331-5140
1-800-440-8091
TTY (404) 730-2654

For Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin

Fair Housing Enforcement Center
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building
77 West Jackson Boulevard, Room 2101
Chicago, Illinois 60604-3507
(312) 353-7776
1-800-765-9372
TTY (312) 353-7143

For Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas:

Fair Housing Enforcement Center
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
1600 Throckmorton, Room 502
Fort Worth, Texas 76113-2905
(817) 978-9270
1-800-498-9371
TTY (817) 978-9274

For Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska:

Fair Housing Enforcement Center
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Gateway Tower II
400 State Avenue, Room 200
Kansas City, Kansas 66101-2406
(913) 551-6958
1-800-743-5323
TTY (913) 551-6972

For Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming:

Fair Housing Enforcement Center
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
633 17th Street
Denver, Colorado 80202-3607
(303) 672-5437
1-800-877-7353
TTY (303) 672-5248

For Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada:

Fair Housing Enforcement Center
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Phillip Burton Federal Building
and U.S. Courthouse
450 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, California 94102-3448
(415) 436-8400
1-800-347-3739
TTY (415) 436-6594

For Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington:

Fair Housing Enforcement Center
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Seattle Federal Office Building
909 First Avenue, Room 205
Seattle, Washington 98104-1000
(206) 220-5170
1-800-877-0246
TTY (206) 220-5185

If after contacting the local office nearest you, you still have questions, you may contact HUD further at:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
451 7th Street, S.W., Room 5204
Washington, D.C. 20410-2000
(202) 708-0836
1-800-669-9777
TTY 1-800-927-9275

To visit HUD's website CLICK HERE

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