What is Housing Discrimination?

If you’ve ever been told you might be more “comfortable” in another neighborhood; been pressured by a landlord to pay rent with sexual favors; or told to get rid of an animal, even though they’re an assistance animal, you may have experienced housing discrimination.

Open Doors PSA

And these are just a few examples. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), any discrimination in renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage or home insurance, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), familial status, and disability is prohibited under the federal Fair Housing Act. Yet, there are over four million incidents of housing discrimination every year, and most go unreported. Watch the video above to learn more about this form of discrimination and where you can find help.

Fair housing is your right.

If you think you’ve experienced housing discrimination, report it to your local fair housing center. Click here to find local fair housing centers. These private, non-profit organizations provide assistance to persons who believe they have experienced housing discrimination. They may investigate your allegations and/or refer you to HUD or a state or local government fair housing agency to file a formal complaint. If there is no private fair housing organization in your state/locality, submit a preliminary intake form to NFHA. NFHA will review the information submitted and contact you. Click here to access the form.

Other Options for Filing a Complaint

You may file a housing discrimination complaint directly with HUD, via its website, on the telephone, or by mail. Click here to access HUD’s housing discrimination complaint page, which explains how to file a complaint and what happens when you file a complaint with HUD. HUD accepts complaints of housing discrimination related to race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual harassment in housing situations), disability, and familial status (presence of children under the age of 18). You have one year from the most recent act of discrimination to file a complaint at HUD.

You may file a housing discrimination complaint with a state or local governmental fair housing agency. Find a list of state/local government agencies here. Complaints may also be filed in federal court. You have two years from the most recent act of discrimination to file in federal court. You will most likely need assistance from an attorney.

What if I need assistance with other housing related matters?

A good place to start is with your state/ local fair housing center. Many have additional programs that may provide housing counseling or landlord/tenant services. They are also connected with local community advocates and can refer you to the appropriate resources. If you are at risk of foreclosure or eviction, you may also contact a HUD-approved counseling agency in your area. Click here to search for HUD-approved counseling agencies.

NFHA Intake Form