What is Fair Housing Law

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that was enacted in 1968 to protect individuals from discrimination in housing based on certain protected characteristics. These protected characteristics include race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. The Fair Housing Act was created to address the long history of discrimination in housing that had resulted in segregation and limited access to housing opportunities for certain groups of people.

The Fair Housing Act applies to all aspects of the rental process, including advertising, showing properties, negotiating leases, and setting rental terms. It applies to any person or entity involved in the rental process, including landlords, property managers, real estate agents, and any other parties involved in the rental process.

Under the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate against any person because of their protected characteristic. This includes denying housing, setting different terms or conditions for rental, or steering a person to a particular neighborhood because of their protected characteristic. For example, it is illegal to refuse to rent to someone because of their race or religion, or to charge higher rent to someone because of their national origin.

The Fair Housing Act also requires landlords and property managers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals. This means that landlords must make reasonable modifications to the property or allow the tenant to make their own modifications if necessary, as long as it does not create an undue burden on the landlord. For example, if a tenant with a disability requires a wheelchair ramp to access their apartment, the landlord must either install the ramp or allow the tenant to do so at their own expense.

It is important for landlords and property managers to be familiar with the Fair Housing Act and to ensure that they are not engaging in any discriminatory practices. Violations of the Fair Housing Act can result in significant fines and penalties, as well as damage to the landlord's reputation. Landlords and property managers should also be aware of any state or local fair housing laws that may provide additional protections beyond those provided by the federal Fair Housing Act.