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Fair Housing Act

HOUSING DISCRIMINATION UNDER THE FAIR HOUSING ACT

Housing discrimination is illegal in nearly all housing, including private housing, public housing, and housing that receives federal funding.

  • The Fair Housing Act 
  • Who Is Protected? 
  • What Types of Housing Are Covered? 
  • What Is Prohibited? 

The Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities. Additional protections apply to federally-assisted housing.Learn about the History of the Fair Housing Act, and read Examples of the many forms of housing discrimination. 

Who Is Protected?

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:

  • Race 
  • Color 
  • National Origin 
  • Religion 
  • Sex 
  • Familial Status 
  • Disability 

What Types of Housing Are Covered?

The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In very limited circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent, and housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.

What Is Prohibited?

In the Sale and Rental of Housing:

It is illegal discrimination to take any of the following actions because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin:

In Mortgage Lending:

It is illegal discrimination to take any of the following actions based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin:

  • Refuse to make a mortgage loan or provide other financial assistance for a dwelling 
  • 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 a dwelling 
  • Condition the availability of a loan on a person’s response to harassment 
  • Refuse to purchase a loan 
  • .
 For more information about discrimination in mortgage lending, visit Fair Lending.

Harassment:

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to harass persons because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. Among other things, this forbids sexual harassment. Learn more about sexual harassment here.

Other Prohibitions:

In addition, it is illegal discrimination to:

  • Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise the right 
  • Retaliate against a person who has filed a fair housing complaint or assisted in a fair housing investigation 
Advertising:

For more information about advertising and the Fair Housing Act, visit Advertising and Marketing.

Additional Protections For Persons With Disabilities:

Housing providers must make reasonable accommodations and allow reasonable modifications that may be necessary to allow persons with disabilities to enjoy their housing. Get more information about reasonable accommodation here. 

Certain multifamily housing must be accessible to persons with disabilities. Get more information here 

Additional Resources

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