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Laws that Protect you when Housing Discrimination Knocks on your Door

This content about civil rights was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.

There are valid reasons to refuse a tenant applicant, like bad credit history or insufficient income. However, if a landlord denies housing to someone based on race, religion, or any other characteristic protected by law, then the act is considered illegal.

The behavior described is an example of housing discrimination, a term that refers to the unequal treatment of people in the rental or sale of dwellings, and in other related activities, on the basis of color, race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or family status.

Laws that Forbid Housing Discrimination

Several federal laws were approved to give equal opportunities to everybody for owning, selling, or renting a home. The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO), which is within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is the agency responsible for the enforcement of these laws, which include:

  • Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) which forbids unlawful discrimination when people are renting or buying a home, applying for mortgage lending, or doing other activities related to housing. The characteristics protected by this law are color, race, national origin, sex, religion, disability, and familial status.
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that defends people from discrimination founded on color, race, or national origin in activities and programs benefited from federal funds.
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which protects people with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial aid.
  • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 that defends people with disabilities in services, programs, and activities offered by public entities.
  • Section 109 of Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, which protects against discrimination based on color, race, national origin, religion, or sex in programs and activities that receive federal funds from HUD’s Community Development and Block Grant Program.
  • Age Discrimination Act of 1975 that forbids discrimination founded on age in activities or programs benefited by federal financial aid.
  • Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, which states that facilities and buildings designed, constructed, modified, or leased with certain federal financial resources after August 12, 1968, need to be accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 that protects against sex-based discrimination in educational activities or programs benefited from federal funds.

States have also approved laws against housing discrimination, which, in many cases, provide additional defense to buyers, sellers, and renters of dwellings. It is the case of California since it covers more protected characteristics, such as sexual orientation, gender identity, and genetic information.

When someone is a victim of housing discrimination, it is important to contact an attorney to give them advice about what legal actions they may take to assert their civil rights and get successful results.

Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California.  Call or email us for a free consultation.

This content about civil rights was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.