The Fair Housing Act administered and enforced by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) contains rights and provisions that protect the interests of individuals in regard to most types of housing. For example, in the sale or rental of housing and in mortgage lending, certain actions cannot be taken against an individual based on the individual’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Illegal actions based on these aforementioned traits or characteristics include but are not limited to:
• Refusing to rent, sell, or make a mortgage loan
• Setting different terms in regard to the rental or sell of a home
• Imposing different loan conditions (i.e. interest rates or fees)
• Advertising that includes a preference based on personal traits or characteristics
Individuals with past or present disabilities, either physical or mental, must be allowed to make modifications to the residence to meet their needs when necessary. For example, if pets are not allowed in a rental home or apartment complex, concessions must be made for visually impaired individuals that require the use of a trained guide dog.
It is important for individuals to understand the rights afforded them under the Fair Housing Act. Individuals should not be intimidated or threatened by others when attempting to employ and implement these rights. When individuals are denied any of the rights explicitly stated in the Fair Housing Act, a Housing Discrimination Complaint Form should be completed and submitted to the local HUD office.