Federal Fair Housing Act Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 together are called the Fair Housing Act. The FHA prohibits housing discrimination based on certain protected classes.
State and Federal Protected Classes Race Color National origin Disability Religion Sex Familial status
Local Protected Classes Age Sexual orientation Gender identity Marital status Student status
Covered Dwellings All multifamily (5+ units) dwellings; Senior living facilities including nursing homes; Homeless shelters; Group homes; Mobile home/RV parks; Cooperatives; Time-share properties; Single family homes when they are owned by private persons and a real estate broker is used.
Prohibited Practices Refusing to rent or sell housing; Setting different terms, conditions, or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling; Providing different housing services or facilities; Steering; Lying about the availability of housing; Advertising in a discriminatory way; Threatening, intimidating, or coercing someone who is exercising his/her fair housing rights; Making housing otherwise unavailable.
These housing practices are prohibited if: The occur because of the victims membership in a protected class; or They have a discriminatory impact on members of the protected class.
Enforcement Fair housing laws are enforced through either: An administrative complaint process at the city, state, or federal level. The complaint must be filed within one year of the discriminatory act; or Private legal action may be brought in state or federal court. The lawsuit must be filed within two years of the the discriminatory act.
Remedies Remedies may include: An order to a housing provider to complete a transaction or grant occupancy; Monetary compensation (for actual costs, compensatory and/or punitive damages, and attorneys fees) Orders to correct past unlawful practices and/or affirmatively correct the effects of such past practices.
Disability Under the FHA The Fair Housing Act defines a person with a disability as someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, someone who has a record of such an impairment, or someone regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities include such functions as walking, breathing, seeing, hearing, working, etc.
Disability Under the FHA A disability can be temporary or permanent. Persons with temporary disabilities are protected against discrimination in the same way as are persons who have permanent disabilities.
Additional Protections for People With Disabilities Multi-family housing built for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, must meet basic accessibility guidelines; Housing providers must make reasonable accommodations/reasonable modifications if the change is necessary to allow the resident with a disability equal opportunity to use the property and its amenities.
Accessibility Requirements 1.Accessible Entrance on an Accessible Route 2.Accessible Public and Common-Use Areas 3.Usable Doors 4.Accessible Route Into/Through Dwelling Unit 5.Accessible Light Switches, Electrical Outlets, and Environmental Controls 6.Reinforced Walls in Bathroom 7.Usable Kitchens and Bathrooms
ADA and Fair Housing Act It is very important to understand that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is not the same as the Fair Housing Act. The ADA applies to public accommodations and typically only covers the leasing office of an apartment complex.
Reasonable Modifications Modification means a change to a structure that will allow physical access to a person with a disability. This requirement is applicable to the interior of a disabled persons dwelling as well as public and common use areas of an apartment complex. Such modifications may be requested at any time; it is not necessary that they be requested at the beginning of a tenancy.
Who pays for the modification? The Fair Housing Act makes clear that such modifications will be the financial responsibility of the person with the disability making the request (except in the case of public housing or subsidized housing).
Reasonable Accommodations Accommodations refers to a change in rules, policies, practices or services, that a housing provider makes to allow a disabled person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. Such accommodations may be requested at any time; it is not necessary that they be requested at the beginning of a tenancy. In most cases, an individuals medical records or detailed information about the nature of a persons disability is not necessary for this inquiry.
What is reasonable? A request for reasonable accommodation is considered reasonable if the accommodation: 1.Will not cause an undue financial or administrative burden to the housing provider; 2.Will not cause a basic change in the nature of the housing programs available; 3.Will not cause harm or damage to others; and 4.Is technologically possible.
What is fair housing testing? Testing is an investigative method for gathering information that can be used to assess an entitys compliance with fair housing laws. Testing simulates an interaction with a housing provider or other entity to collect this information.
ATC Fair Housing Program Successes Chenitha Burleson v. Henry Carter (sexual harassment; $275,000 settlement) Gilbert Pigg v. Le Marquee and Monticello Apartments (race; $23,750) Michael McCrory v. Cynthia Brettschneider (disability; settlement pending) NFHA, NAD, and ATC v. Bell Partners (disability; $150,000 settlement)
ATC Fair Housing Program Successes Reasonable accommodations: reinstate Section 8 housing voucher; release from lease without penalty; change rental due date; allow assistance animal in no pets complex; reserve accessible parking space; transfer to ground- floor unit; etc. Reasonable modifications: ramp or grab bars installed; bathroom renovations; etc.
Get Involved Learn about your fair housing rights. Report housing discrimination so it can be stopped. Fair housing testers needed! Call 474-7007 x 104 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help in Texas Austin Tenants Council 512-474-7007; www.housing-rights.orgwww.housing-rights.org Fair Housing Council of Greater San Antonio 210-733-3247; www.myfairhousing.orgwww.myfairhousing.org Greater Houston Fair Housing Center 713-641-3247 North Texas Fair Housing Center 469-941-0375; www.northtexasfairhousing.orgwww.northtexasfairhousing.org