What is Housing Discrimination?

How do you know if you have been the victim of illegal housing discrimination? Housing discrimination comes in many forms and is often subtle. Some signs of possible discrimination include:

  • A refusal to sell, rent, or show available housing
  • Requiring different terms and conditions for identical dwellings, i.e. charging higher rent, security deposit for different tenants
  • Being told that the dwelling isn’t right for you or your family
  • Being told that housing isn’t available in an apartment with a “For Rent” sign
  • Housing advertisements that say “no kids” or “adults only”
  • A refusal to make a reasonable accommodation or allow a modification to make the dwelling accessible for a person with a disability
  • Harassment or intimidation
  • Offering non‐standard and unfavorable terms in the purchase of a home or property insurance
  • Terms of availability that change between a phone contact and an in‐person visit
  • Being steered to racially segregated neighborhoods during your home search
  • Excessive or inappropriate questioning upon requesting information about a dwelling
If You Suspect Discrimination…

Contact your local fair housing organization. Fair housing organizations are locally-based non-profit agencies that provide free assistance to anyone who believes she or he has been the victim of housing discrimination. Just click here to locate your local group.

You can also file an administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or a substantially equivalent state or local agency. You may also file a lawsuit in court. Where you should file will depend on several things, including the type of discrimination and when the alleged discrimination occurred. Contact a local fair housing agency for guidance and assistance filing a complaint.

You can contact the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity about filing a complaint at 800‑669‑9777. For the hearing impaired, call TTY 800‑927‑9275. You can also visit HUD online.

Click on one of the links below to file a complaint with HUD:

What Are My Rights?

The federal Fair Housing Act protects your right to rent an apartment, buy a home, obtain a mortgage, or purchase homeowners insurance free from discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • National Origin
  • Disability (mental and physical)
  • Familial Status (presence of children under 18 in the home)
Other HUD Resources

For additional fair housing information, download the booklet “Fair Housing: Equal Opportunity for All” by clicking on one of the languages below:

Another resource is Federal Fair Housing and Civil Rights Laws.

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