What is Housing Discrimination?
In the Sale and Rental of Housing: No one may take any of the following actions based on a person’s race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, national origin, familial status or handicap:
In Mortgage Lending: No one may take any of the following actions based on a person’s race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, national origin, familial status or handicap:
Fair Housing Act
The Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended, prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis or race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability (protected classes). Familial status means either one or more minors (under the age of 18) who live with a parent or guardian or any person who is pregnant, or in the process of securing legal custody of any minor. In addition to the above mentioned protected classes, the state of Ohio and the city of Canton prohibit discrimination in ancestry. Click here to download the Fair Housing Act.
What is Covered?
The laws cover almost every kind of housing related discrimination. They provide standing to persons injured by the discrimination. The laws cover a broad range of transactions, including: purchase and sale, rental, vacant land transactions, zoning, lending, insurance, appraisal, development, management and any transaction in which a person can be denied housing or services related to housing. The Fair Housing Law prohibits discrimination that makes housing otherwise UNAVAILABLE.
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.
How do you Recognize Discrimination?
Housing discrimination is rarely blatant. It is usually cleverly disguised and, more often than not, is done with a smile and a handshake. Landlords and real estate agents usually don't say, "You can't live here because you have a handicap." Some things landlords say that is handicap/disability discrimination:
Landlords and real estate agents usually don't say, "We don’t accept kids."
Suspect housing discrimination when these types of comments are made:
If you have a Disability
It is illegal for anyone to deny you housing because you have a mental or physical disability, or a record of having had a mental of physical disability, or because people think you have a mental or physical disability.
Persons who have disabilities are entitled to the same full enjoyment of their home as those persons without disabilities. In order to fully enjoy the unit, it may be necessary to have specific accommodations or modifications made to a dwelling unit.
You May be Entitled to a Reasonable Accommodation
The Fair Housing Law makes it illegal to “refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.”
Common accommodations include:
You May be Entitled to Modifications
When a tenant needs modifications to the structure of a unit to make it accessible, it is not the landlord’s responsibility to pay for the modifications. A landlord may even require the tenant to set up an escrow account to ensure that the modifications can be removed when the tenant moves out. However, a landlord may not refuse any request for reasonable modifications.
Some reasonable modifications include:
If you have Children
Unless a building or community qualifies as housing for older persons, a landlord may not discriminate based on familial status. The Fair Housing Law prohibits discrimination in housing against families with children under the age of 18 living with a parent or person having legal custody of such individuals. Familial status also applies to any person who is pregnant or in the process of securing legal custody of children under the age of 18. Families cannot be denied the housing of their choice simply because they have children.
Housing for older persons is exempt from the prohibition against familial status discrimination if:
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