Housing Discrimination Lawyers
What is Housing Discrimination?
Housing discrimination is when one person makes a housing decision based on a preference for, or bias against, another person because of a characteristic. Housing discrimination is illegal when the housing decision was made based on a preference for or bias against a person because of a specifically prohibited characteristic, such as race or sex. The federal government and the laws of each state specify what characteristics should not form the basis of housing decisions.
The Fair Housing Act
Generally, the federal government regulates discrimination in housing through the federal Fair Housing Act. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the federal agency that investigates housing discrimination claims and often enforces the Fair Housing Act. There are also many state agencies that enforce fair housing laws. Both have strict deadlines for filing a housing discrimination claim.
Practices Forbidden under the Fair Housing Act
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits people from discriminating against others on the basis of race, creed, age, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, familial status (having children) or physical or mental handicap in:
- The rental, sale or leasing a property
- The terms of sale, rental or leasing of housing
- The terms of services in connection with the sale, rental or leasing of housing
- Print, statement, advertisement or publication for the purchase, sale, rental or leasing of housing.
Note on Physical/Mental disability - Many courts have found that physical and mental disability include past alcoholism and past drug addiction. Thus, a landlord should not inquire about a potential tenant's prior drug or alcohol history. Issues about present drug use can be questioned.
To Whom Does the Fair Housing Act Apply?
The Fair Housing Act applies to:
- Real estate brokers
- Building contractors
- Mortgage lenders and lending institutions
- Real estate salespersons
- Property managers
Single-family homes being sold or rented by the owner are not subject to these regulations. Senior citizen housing that fits into specific criteria may also be exempt from these regulations.
How to Form a Claim of Housing Discrimination
To form the basis of a housing discrimination claim, individuals must prove:
- Membership in one of the protected groups (listed above)
- They applied to rent or purchase a certain property, and were qualified
- They were rejected
- The housing opportunity remained open after they were rejected.
After proving this, the person accused of discrimination must show a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for rejecting the individuals, or else they will be liable.
Should I Consult with an Attorney for my Housing Discrimination Issue?
There are strict state and federal deadlines that must be followed for a housing discrimination lawsuit. An attorney can help you formulate a claim for housing discrimination and help you comply with the court procedures. An attorney can also help you gather the documentation needed to form the basis of a housing discrimination claim.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 02-08-2011 12:24 PM PST
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