Fair Housing

A seesaw with a wooden house on one side and coins balanced on the other side with the words "fair housing" at the top, showing how housing is supposed to be fair for all.

If you’re facing foreclosure, then our nonprofit housing counselors can possibly help you qualify for homeowner assistance programs. For more information, call Credit.org at (800) 294-3896.

If you have been trying to buy or rent a home or apartment and you believe your civil rights have been violated, you can report the discrimination. If you don’t report discrimination, it can’t be stopped. Under the Fair Housing Act, it is against the law to:

  • Refuse to rent to you or sell you housing
  • Tell you housing is unavailable when in fact it is available
  • Show you apartments or homes only in certain neighborhoods
  • Set different terms, conditions, or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Provide different housing services or facilities
  • Advertise housing to preferred groups of people only
  • Refuse to provide you with information regarding mortgage loans, deny you a mortgage loan, or impose different terms or conditions on a mortgage loan
  • Deny you property insurance
  • Conduct property appraisals in a discriminatory manner
  • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations for persons with a disability if the accommodation may be necessary to afford such person a reasonable and equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
  • Fail to design and construct housing in an accessible manner
  • Harass, coerce, intimidate, or interfere with anyone exercising or assisting someone else with his/her fair housing rights

It is unlawful to discriminate in housing based on any one or more of these factors:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial status (families with children under the age of 18, or who are expecting a child)
  • Handicap (if you or someone close to you has a disability)

If you believe your rights have been violated, HUD or a state or local fair housing agency is ready to help you file a complaint. After your information is received, HUD or a state or local fair housing agency will contact you to discuss the concerns you raise. Learn more.

There are 3 different ways to file your housing discrimination complaint:

  1. Online form
  2. Download and mail it in
  3. Call the HUD hotline at 800-877-7353
    (TTY for hearing and/or speech impaired: 860-240-4665)

Fair Housing: It’s Your Right

HUD has played a lead role in administering the Fair Housing Act since its adoption in 1968. The 1988 amendments, however, have greatly increased the Department’s enforcement role. First, the newly protected classes have proven significant sources of new complaints. Second, HUD’s expanded enforcement role took the Department beyond investigation and conciliation into the area of mandatory enforcement. Learn more.

Federal Fair Housing Laws

The major federal fair housing law is the Fair Housing Act. Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability).

Housing Discrimination

Housing discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, or disability is illegal by federal law. If you have been trying to buy or rent a home or apartment and you believe your rights have been violated, you can file a fair housing complaint.

United States Department of Justice

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) are jointly responsible for enforcing the federal Fair Housing Act (the “Act”), which prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability. One type of disability discrimination prohibited by the Act is the refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. Learn More.

The Human Faces of Housing Discrimination

Housing discrimination affects people of every race, ethnicity, national origin, and religion. Women, people with disabilities, and families with children may also face barriers to their fair housing rights. These stories portray the human faces of housing discrimination. Learn More.

State and Local Fair Housing Enforcement Laws

Many states have some form of statute that can be invoked to redress discrimination in the sale or rental of housing. Learn More.

Article written by
Melinda Opperman
Melinda Opperman is an exceptional educator who lives and breathes the creation and implementation of innovative ways to motivate and educate community members and students about financial literacy. Melinda joined credit.org in 2003 and has over two decades of experience in the industry.

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