This information is available in the following languages:
Spanish,Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creyole, Khmer, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, and Vietnamese.
Under federal and state anti-discrimination laws it is illegal to discriminate in housing sales or rentals or in housing lending and insurance on the basis of:
|These characteristics are called "protected classes"|
(families with children, single parents, unmarried parents)
|Source of income
(have a housing subsidy (Section 8)and/or receive welfare or some other public assistance
It is illegal to:
- Refuse to rent, sell, or negotiate for housing on the basis of the characteristics of a protected class;
- Make housing unavailable or deny that housing is available;
- Set different terms, conditions or privileges for the sale or rental of housing;
- Deny or make different terms or conditions for a mortgage, home loan, homeowners insurance or other real estate related transaction;
- It is illegal to advertise housing for rent or sale in a way that is discriminatory.
- It is illegal to "blockbust for profit"; persuading owners to sell their homes by telling them minority groups are moving into the neighborhood.
- It is illegal to threaten, coerce or intimidate anyone attempting to exercise his or her fair housing rights.
Examples of behavior that may be housing discrimination:
- You call and get an appointment to look at a house, but when you get there, you are told that the house was just sold.
- You are told that the apartment has been rented, but it is listed in the paper again.
- You are told a higher selling price than what was advertised, or what you hear others being told.
- You are told that they cannot rent to families with children because the house has lead paint.
- You are told that only married couples can purchase the unit.
- You are given different terms or conditions for signing a lease than other applicants.
- You are told that you can't or shouldn't buy the house because the neighbors might be unfriendly, or they many not accept families like yours.
- You are only shown homes in certain parts of town.
- You are not given the opportunity to negotiate.
What housing is covered?
- Single-family homes owned by private persons when a real estate broker and/or discriminatory advertising is used to rent or sell the home;
- Single-family homes not owned by private persons (such as corporations or partnerships), even if a broker is not used to rent or sell the home;
- Owner occupied multi-family buildings when a real estate broker and/or discriminatory advertising is used to rent or sell the home;
- Multi-family buildings with four or fewer units, if the owner does not live in one of the units;
- Multi-family buildings with five or more units, including rooming houses.
Homeseekers have the right to expect:
- Housing in their price range to be made available without discrimination;
- Equal professional service; the opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices; no discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing;
- No discrimination in the financing, appraising or insuring of housing;
- Reasonable accommodations in rules, practices, and procedures for persons with disabilities;
- Non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling;
- To be free from harassment or intimidation for exercising their fair housing rights.
General guidelines to avoid discriminatory actions:
- Agents in a real estate transaction, licensed brokers or salespersons are prohibited by law from discriminating on the basis of protected class. A request from the home seller or landlord to act in a discriminatory manner in the sale, lease, or rental cannot be legally fulfilled by the real estate professional.
- Home sellers and landlords have a responsibility and a requirement under the law not to discriminate in the sale, rental, or financing of property. Under the law, a home seller or landlord cannot establish discriminatory terms or conditions in the purchase or rental; deny that housing is available only to persons in a protected class; or instruct an agent or broker to convey such limitations to potential applicants.
- Even when illegal discriminatory actions are not intentional, they are still illegal.
- If you offer options to one applicant and not to another based on their membership in a protected class, it is illegal discrimination.
- If you make assumptions about potential tenants or clients - about their ability to pay, about their likelihood of being "good" clients, about their potential for causing problems - based on their race, disability, accent, family size, etc. - that is illegal discrimination.
To avoid breaking the law:
- Treat everyone alike.
- Provide consistent and complete information to everyone.
- Make decisions based only on objective criteria.
- Do not make credit assumptions based on non-credit factors.
- Know the law.