Fair Housing – Know the Law
A recent study by the Seattle Times found that there was widespread discrimination in over half of the 48 apartment buildings they tested. Overall, 36% of landlords were found to have discriminated against the disabled, and 69% discriminated against African-Americans. As a result, the Office of Civil Rights has brought fair housing discrimination cases against the property owners. Discrimination suits are not criminal charges, but can result in a large cost to landlords. It is important to know the law regarding fair housing and discrimination.
The Fair Housing act states that it is an unfair practice to discriminate based upon: sex, marital status, race, creed, color, national origin, families with children status, or the presences of any sensory, mental or phsyical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a disable person. You are not allowed to apply a ‘no pets’ policy to a guide dog or other approved service animal. It is also illegal to refuse to make reasonable modifications to the unit or building to accomodate the needs of a disabled person.
What exactly is illegal? The refusal to rent or negotiate, setting different terms or conditions based on different applicants or tenants, denying housing is available when there is vacancy, or advertising or making a statement that limits preferences.
For more information on the Fair Housing Act: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/FHLaws/yourrights