Federal Fair Housing is something that has been forgotten about by many because the act prohibiting discrimination in housing was passed many years ago; in 1968. However, discrimination in housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disabilities still exist today.
Housing and lending discrimination is something common that occurs when an individual attempts to buy or rent a home, but also when they try to buy homeowner’s insurance or a mortgage. Millions of complaints are still filed each year through nonprofit fair-housing agencies and other local and state agencies.
Housing discrimination isn’t always obvious, and is something that is still prevalent today in our society.
Sarah, a young mother, in Toledo, OH, was searching for a house where she and her daughter could live for a reasonable price. After searching for months, she found a two-bedroom condo that they could live in. When she called the rental office, her excitement grew as she listened to the description of it. However, this anticipation was quickly killed when she was informed that children were not allowed in the complex. Sarah, who worked for Toledo Fair Housing Center, knew that the “no kids” policy was illegal. After a testing investigation and discovered the rental company was illegally discriminating. Sarah filed a formal complaint and the rental company is negotiating a settlement.
Joseph had lived in his apartment in Takoma Park, Maryland, for over five years when the management was turned over to a new company. All of the tenants in the units were African American. Shortly after the turn-over, the new management evicted all tenants except for one who was allowed to live in a basement and was limited to building access from a side entrance to the apartment complex. Though the landlord claimed massive renovations, leading to increased rent, these renovations were completed within a week and new tenants moved into the building, none of whom were African American. Joseph’s local fair housing center was able to discover that all of the company’s other units were managed in the same way and demonstrated the same discrimination. Joseph filed a complaint against the new management’s illegal behaviors.
Leah and her husband Brad were looking for a new place to live in San Jose, California. Leah is blind and is guided by her Seeing Eye dog to get around. After finding a promising listing in the local paper, the couple decided to make an appointment to meet with management and see the property. When they were showed around the apartment, the couple were pleased by what they saw and made an appointment to apply for the apartment. However, when they met with the owner, she promptly informed them that they were not allowed to have any pets and “if [she] let [them] have one, everyone will want one.” Though the couple explained that their dog was a service animal, the owner would not compromise. She allowed them to fill out the application, without any intention of renting to the couple. Leah and her husband filed a complaint to a federal court to make sure that others in their situation would not fall under the same discrimination and the couple won a settlement from the owner who would not rent to them.
The following activities are not permissible under the Fair Housing Act when based on discrimination:
It is important for you to be aware of your rights and to utilize the laws that have been set in place. Most individuals who are discriminated against in housing are not aware, or take no action to prohibit it. If this problem is not stopped little by little, it will continue to exist and thousands of others for generations to come will continue to experience discrimination.
If you need to report a complaint, include the following information: your name and address, the name and address of the person your complaint is against, the address of the housing involved, a short description of the event that caused you to believe your rights were violated, and the date(s) of the alleged violation.
If you need to reach your local HUD office, call 1-800-669-9777, TDD 1-800-927-9275 or visit HUD.gov.
To identify the private housing enforcement office in your area, call 202-898-1661 or visit the National Fair Housing Alliance.
Remember we are here to help you purchase a home in Bryan College Station, Texas. Aggies Don’t Discriminate!”
PS – David Whitener, I never forget you have a choice when choosing a Realtor to represent you in Bryan/College Station.