Featured News 2014 Housing Discrimination

Housing Discrimination

Housing discrimination is what happens when someone is denied housing or a fair lending, mortgage, and insurance price for a house based on their race, gender, ethnicity, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, marital status, or veteran status. This is a largely underreported problem in the United States, with an estimated 2 million instances of housing discrimination occurring each year.

How do I know if I have been discriminated against?

According to the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Fair Housing Act Amendments Act of 1988, it is illegal for a landlord to use discrimination in any act of the landlord-tenant relationship, from renting the property to residing there.

Some things that landlords are prohibited from doing include:

  • Advertise a home or apartment based on a preferred category of people
  • Deny the availability of a rental unit to anyone that inquires about it
  • Follow different standards for renting to certain individuals
  • Refuse to rent an apartment to someone based on their inclusion in a protected group
  • Set different terms and conditions for renting the apartment to certain individuals, including requiring a larger deposit or changing the policies based on the tenants living in the unit
  • End a tenancy for a discrimination-related reason

While these federal housing laws apply to housing across the United States, not all housing must abide by federal standards. Some of those excluded from following federal discrimination laws include owner-occupied buildings with less than four rental units, single-family homes rented without advertisement as long as the landlord owns less than three such homes, housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs, and housing reserved for senior citizens.

Many states have created their own rules to fill in where federal law does not apply, but housing discrimination remains a huge problem nationwide. If you are wondering whether you have been a victim of housing discrimination, check with a real estate attorney in your area. An attorney will know the laws of your state and whether or not a case can be brought against a landlord for discriminatory practices in their housing.

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