If you are looking for a home to rent or buy, it is important to know about housing discrimination to understand more of your rights as a potential tenant. Similarly, if you are a landlord or a property owner, it will be beneficial for you to learn about housing discrimination, and what things you should avoid when renting or leasing a property.

But first, what is housing discrimination?

In a nutshell, housing discrimination is a type of unlawful discrimination against an individual or family when renting, buying and lending. Refusing to make housing unavailable to a person and family because of who and what they are is considered illegal.

The Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act, also known as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act, is a federal act which states that landlords, real estate companies and other direct providers of housing are prohibited to discriminate people because of gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability, race, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity and familial status. Additionally, it is illegal to advertise with a statement that indicates limitation and preference based on the aforementioned characteristics. It is also illegal to coerce, threaten or intimidate the tenant when he/she is exercising his/her fair housing right.

Acts of Discrimination

If you are a tenant looking to rent or buy a house, you must know that housing discrimination is illegal, and if ever you find yourself discriminated, you can take legal action. Discrimination is still an existing problem and it extends to housing opportunities. Here are some examples of illegal acts considered as discrimination:

  • Refusal to rent or sell a property
  • Unreasonable eviction
  • Unfair and unfavorable treatment
  • Unequal terms and conditions
  • Retaliating against a tenant who made a complaint against you
  • Refusal to offer a home loan or insurance

How to Report Housing Discrimination

If you think that your Fair Housing right has been violated, you can report it by calling or writing a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You can also download a fair housing complaint form online.

After you submit your complaint to HUD, they will confirm that they received it by sending you a notification. They will also notify the person you are complaining about. After which, they will then begin their investigation to determine if your right was indeed violated. The HUD will then try to have a conciliation or agreement with the person who is the subject of your complaint.

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