MEDA is joining The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) to bring awareness to individuals and families on how to recognize and report discrimination in housing because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status and disability, including discrimination in mortgage lending because of issues related to pregnancy and/or parental leave.
What is the Fair Housing Act?
The Fair Housing Act, established in 1968, makes it illegal to discriminate by direct providers of housing, such as real estate companies, landlords, banks or other lending institutions and homeowners insurance companies in housing because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status and disability. Under the Fair Housing Act, the Department of Justice may bring lawsuits where there is reason to believe that a person or entity is engaged in a pattern of discrimination or where a denial of rights to a group of persons raises an issue of general public importance.
What is Housing Discrimination?
- How do you know if you have been the victim of illegal housing discrimination? Housing discrimination comes in many forms and is often subtle. Some signs of possible discrimination include:
- A refusal to sell, rent, or show available housing
- Requiring different terms and conditions for identical dwellings, i.e. charging higher rent, security deposit for different tenants
- Being told that the dwelling isn’t right for you or your family
- Being told that housing isn’t available in an apartment with a “For Rent” sign
- Housing advertisements that say “no kids” or “adults only”
- A refusal to make a reasonable accommodation or allow a modification to make the dwelling accessible for a person with a disability
- Harassment or intimidation
- Offering non‐standard and unfavorable terms in the purchase of a home or property insurance
- Terms of availability that change between a phone contact and an in‐person visit
- Being steered to racially segregated neighborhoods during your home search
- Excessive or inappropriate questioning upon requesting information about a dwelling
If You Suspect Discrimination…
You can file an administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or a substantially equivalent state or local agency. You may also file a lawsuit in court. Where you should file will depend on several things, including the type of discrimination and when the alleged discrimination occurred. Contact MEDA for guidance and assistance filing a complaint: medasf.org, 415.282.3334
You can also contact the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity about filing a complaint at (800) 669-9777. For the hearing impaired, call TTY (800) 927-9275.