What Is Fair Housing?

According to HUD:

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for any housing. The prohibitions specifically cover discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children.”

It is the people’s right to choose a residence free from unlawful discrimination. Therefore, federal, state and local fair housing laws protect people from discrimination in housing transactions including rentals, sales, lending, or insurance for apartments, single-family homes, condominiums, and manufactured homes.

However, the law exempts:

  • owner-occupied buildings with no more than two/four units
  • single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker
  • housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members

The Protected Classes

Regardless of your age, race, religion, family situation, or your level of education you have the right to choose housing that is appropriate for your situation. This is guaranteed with no stereotypes or outside preference or influence or the following protected classes:

  • What Is Fair Housing?Race
  • Color
  • ReligionNational origin
  • National Origin
  • Gender
  • Disability
  • Familial status (presence of children under the age of 18 and pregnancy)
  • Marriage Status
  • Age

Some states have gone on to include to following groups:

  • Source of income
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Public assistance recipient status

The Governed Parties

The Fair Housing Act regulates many groups to protect those seeking affordable, appropriate housing.

  • Real estate operators, brokers, and agents
  • Multiple listing services/real estate related organizations
  • Builders, contractors, and developers
  • Owners of building lots
  • Condominium associations
  • Homeowners advertising and selling their homes
  • Savings & Loans associations, banks, mortgage brokers, other financial institutions and appraisers
  • Owners of investment properties
  • Rental managers/leasing agents
  • Advertising media, advertising agencies and marketing companies
  • Companies who sell homeowners or renters insurance

Unlawful Actions

There are a variety of actions deemed illegal under the Fair Housing Act. For example, some actions include refusing to rent, sell, or negotiate housing to certain populations. No one is allowed to set different terms, conditions or priveledges regarding a dwelling or a loan. This also extends to fair property appraising practices. Additionally, it is illegal to threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with people who are assisting others in attaining decent housing. However, housing need not be made available to an individual who is a direct threat to the health or safety of others or who currently uses illegal drugs.

These are only a few of the regulations included withing the law. Furthermore, if you feel you have been a victim of violations of the Fair Housing Act you have legal recourse. Equal access to appropriate housing is a crucial element for the quality of life.



Cell: (410) 353-0956
Office: (410) 956-3500