The Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, was enacted on April 11, 1968. The final piece of civil rights legislation of the 1960s, the Fair Housing Act was designed to eradicate discriminatory practices in the sale and rental of residential housing that had resulted in pervasive segregation across the nation. The Act prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and familial status (New York State protected classes also include age, marital status, military status, and sexual orientation). Resource: National Fair Housing
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 a local fair housing agency for guidance and assistance filing a complaint. You can 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.