The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits housing discrimination based on a person's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability. As of 2017, landlords and sellers also cannot discriminate against you based on your gender identity or sexual orientation. Whether you are renting or buying, if you have been denied housing based on a protected class, the aggressive attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC, will fight for your right to fair housing.
The Fair Housing Act covers most types of housing, whether you are purchasing or leasing the dwelling. However, the law has a few exemptions. These include owner-occupied dwellings with less than four units; single-family homes rented or sold directly by the owner without a real estate agent; housing owned and operated by religious organizations; and private clubs that only sell or rent to members.
What Constitutes Housing Discrimination?
Housing discrimination takes many forms. The most obvious is refusing to rent or sell a dwelling due to someone's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability. More subtle forms of housing discrimination include:
- Setting different terms and conditions for the sale or rental of a dwelling
- Falsely denying that a dwelling is available for sale or rent
- Publishing any advertisement that indicates any limitations based on protected classes
- Charging different sales or rental prices
- Evicting a tenant based on protected classes
- Having different qualification criteria for protected classes, such as credit scores or income requirements.
- Persuading homeowners to sell their homes at your profit by indicating that people of protected classes may move into the neighborhood
- Imposing different mortgage terms, such as interest rate or points
- Discriminating in a dwelling's appraisal
The Fair Housing Act also makes threatening or harassing someone for exercising their right to fair housing illegal. No one may retaliate against you for participating in a fair housing investigation or filing a complaint.
Reasonable Modification for Disabilities
Section 504 of the Fair Housing Act requires landlords and property owners to make reasonable modifications to dwellings so that people with disabilities have equal opportunity to live in the housing offered. This may include structural changes and must be paid for by the property owner unless the modifications would cause them a substantial financial burden. Examples of reasonable modifications include lowering the entry threshold, installing grab bars in the bathroom, or allowing a service animal in a no-pets dwelling. Each reasonable modification is unique based on the individual's disability.
Have You Been a Victim of Housing Discrimination?
Federal and Washington, D.C. laws protect your right to fair housing. When landlords, sellers, or mortgage lenders discriminate against you based on a protected class, you need an experienced attorney from S.L England, PLLC, to fight for you. Unlike 90 percent of other attorneys, we have the courtroom experience necessary to present a strong case for you in front of a judge or jury in any state or federal court. If you have been a victim of housing discrimination in Virginia or Washington, D.C., call us today at (202) 489-0720 or contact us online.