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THE BASICS OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT Presented by: Sarah Fisher Idaho Human Rights Commission 208-334-2873.

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Presentation on theme: "THE BASICS OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT Presented by: Sarah Fisher Idaho Human Rights Commission 208-334-2873."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE BASICS OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT Presented by: Sarah Fisher Idaho Human Rights Commission

2 Fair Housing Basics 1.What is Fair Housing? 2.What are the Federal protected “bases?” 3.What is covered? “issues?”

3 Fair Housing Basics 4.What makes discrimination illegal? 5.Who must comply?

4 What is Fair Housing? Fair housing is the right of all people to be free from discrimination in the rental, sale, or financing of housing. Fair Housing means Equal Access

5 The Federal Fair Housing Act Prohibits discrimination in public and private housing on the bases of:  Race/Color  Sex (Gender)  Religion  National Origin  Disability  Familial Status (Presence of children under 18, pregnant female, securing custody, and designee of custodian)

6  Virtually ALL housing related transactions are covered, including:  Renting or buying  Terms or conditions,  Rules & policies, contracts  Reasonable accommodations  Mortgage lending, appraisals, and insurance  Advertising What issues are covered under the Act?

7 What makes discrimination illegal?  Discrimination means being treated differently than others  Not all discrimination is illegal  Illegal Discrimination = Covered Issue + Covered Basis Refusing to rent (Issue) housing to someone because she is a woman (Basis)

8 What makes discrimination illegal? Discrimination can mean a failure to reasonably accommodate a person’s disability

9 What makes discrimination illegal ? Discrimination can mean a landlord’s neutral policy, when put into practice, has a greater negative effect on one group of people of a certain protected class more than another group of people

10 Illegal Discrimination Can Be …  Charging a higher rent amount for tenants with children  Making a tenant follow stricter rules because he is Russian.

11 Illegal Discrimination Can Be…  Charging a pet deposit or a fee for a service animal.  Requiring a qualified applicant to meet higher standards because she is African-American

12 Illegal Discrimination Can Be…  Evicting a disabled tenant because she requires a reasonable accommodation and needs a ramp for her disability  Telling applicants that an available apartment has been rented once it is known they are Muslim

13 Illegal Discrimination Can Be…  Retaliating against a tenant who has filed a Fair Housing complaint  Failing to take action if a tenant complains that another tenant is harassing them because they are Mexican

14 Who must comply with the Fair Housing Act?  Can include, but is not limited to: Any person and/or entity involved in the rental or sale of a dwelling or the advertisement of a dwelling

15 Who must comply with the Fair Housing Act?  Any person and/or entity involved in the design and construction of new dwellings  Any person and/or entity involved in other real estate related transactions such as mortgage lending, property/hazard insurance, zoning, municipal services

16 This Means…  Property Owners  Property Managers  Property Maintenance Staff  Real Estate Brokers or Agents  Homeowners/Condominium Associations  Housing Authority Staff  Housing Developers and Contractors  Mortgage Lenders and Financial Institutions  Advertising Media

17 Specific Fair Housing Issues  Sexual Orientation  Family Status  Advertising

18 The Fair Housing Act and Sexual Orientation Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity are not protected classes under the Fair Housing Act. However, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person’s experience with sexual orientation or gender identity housing discrimination may still be covered by the Fair Housing Act.

19 How? Under Disability: A gay man is evicted because his landlord believes he will infect other tenants with HIV/AIDS.

20 How? Under Sex/Gender: A property manager refuses to rent an apartment to a prospective tenant who is transgender.

21 Familial Status What is familial status? Do’s and Don’ts Occupancy HOPA

22 Defining Familial Status  The presence of one or more children under the age of 18 in the household  Parent, step-parent, adoptive parent, guardian, foster parent or custodian of a minor child  Pregnant woman or someone in the process of acquiring legal custody of a child

23 Do’s and Don’ts:  Do not refuse to rent to qualified families with children unless you are a Housing for Older Persons (HOPA)  Do not refuse to rent to qualified families with children because of safety hazards –  Do not limit families with children to certain floors of buildings or to certain areas within housing complexes

24 Do’s and Don’ts:  Do not establish rules that target children  Follow existing health and safety laws when setting age limits for pool use or spa equipment

25 Occupancy Under some circumstances, a housing provider’s occupancy policy may have an unfair and larger negative impact on families with children and may, therefore, constitute a violation of the Fair Housing Act

26 Occupancy – The Keating Memo Keating Memo discusses reasonable occupancy policies  Two persons per bedroom, as a general rule, is reasonable  HOWEVER, reasonableness is not solely determined by the number of people permitted in each bedroom

27 The Keating Memo - Continued  Reasonableness of an occupancy policy is also determined by:  Size of bedrooms and unit  Age of children  Configuration of unit  Other physical limitations of housing  State and local law

28 Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA)  The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on family status (presence of children)  There are three exceptions to this rule found in the Housing for Older Persons Act: – State or Federal housing programs designated by HUD Secretary to be specifically for the elderly

29 HOPA - Continued 62+ Housing Housing facility or community intended for and solely occupied by persons 62 years and older

30 HOPA-Continued  55+ Housing-criteria to qualify:  Housing facility or community where at least 80% of its occupied units is occupied by at least one person aged 55 or older  Intent to operate as housing designed for persons 55 and older  Process to verify age of occupants

31 Questions ???

32 Advertising The Fair Housing Act prohibits the making, printing, and publishing of any notices, statements or advertisements with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling which indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination because of a protected class covered under the Act

33 Advertising Guidelines  Examples of Permissible phrases  Master bedroom  Desirable Neighborhood  Female roommate wanted  Mother-in-law suite  No smoking  Family room

34 Advertising Guidelines  Examples of Phrases to Avoid  White family home  Adult Community  Roselawn Catholic Home (without a non- discrimination statement) What about “no pets”?

35 Advertising - Continued THE KEY: DESCRIBE THE PROPERTY NOT THE TENANTS!

36 Questions ???

37 Who Do I Contact? Intermountain Fair Housing Council 5460 West Franklin Road, Suite M Boise, ID (Phone)

38 Who Do I Contact? Idaho Commission on Human Rights 317 West Main Street Boise, ID


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