November 16, 2022

Fair Housing Act

This article will help you understand the fair housing act.

What is the Fair Housing Act?

Discrimination can appear in many forms. For renters trying to find a place to live, being affected by any form of discrimination can change the outcome of whether or not they rent in an area or move to another by either their choice or through force. The Fair Housing Act seeks to end the explicit and implicit discrimination that occurs for renters trying to find suitable housing. This article will help you understand what classes and statuses are protected and what other, less obvious, forms of discrimination might be.

Federal Protected Classes

The list of protected classes, as outlined by Title VIII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1968 includes these classes as protected under the Fair Housing Act:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Familial status (the presence of children)

Local Protected Classes

There are also local protected classes that add extra protection to groups that would still receive discrimination for housing. For the city of Ann Arbor, those protected classes include:

  • Arrest record
  • Educational association
  • Family responsibilities
  • Gender expression
  • Gender identity
  • Genetic information
  • Height
  • HIV status
  • National origin
  • Political beliefs
  • Sexual orientation
  • Source of income
  • Veteran status
  • Victim of domestic violence or stalking
  • Weight

For the city of Ypsilanti, these protected classes included:

  • Gender identity
  • Immigration status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Educational association
  • Source of income

Examples of Discrimination

  • Refusal to sell, rent, or finance housing
  • Steering people and families to or away from a particular neighborhood or a certain part of an apartment complex
  • Charging a higher security deposit or offering different terms and conditions, use of facilities, or other services associated with the rental, sale or financing of housing
  • Having different qualifying standards, such as closer scrutiny of credit history for some groups while bending the rules for others
  • Saying that housing is not available to view, buy, or rent when it is in fact available
  • Sexual harassment by an owner or agent
  • Delay or denial of a loan based on maternity leave status
  • Denying a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability (including restricting animal breed for emotional support and service animals)
  • Harassment of buyers or renters who are exercising their fair housing rights
  • Harassment of sellers, rental agents, or real estate agents who refuse to discriminate

What to Do if You Experience a Fair Housing Violation

If you or someone you know is a victim of a Fair Housing Act Violation, you can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The best ways to file a complaint are online or by phone (1 (202) 708-1112). This will trigger an investigation to determine whether your complaint is valid. If your complaint is deemed valid, a housing specialist will argue on your behalf in front of a HUD administrative judge.

Housing Act violations can vary, depending on whether or not if the violation is the first time, or if there have been multiple violations:

  • $16,000 for first time violators,
  • $37,500 if the landlord has violated the Fair Housing Act before the current complaint, and
  • $65,000 if the landlord has violated the Fair Housing Act two or more time before the current complaint.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Was this guide helpful?
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.