Fair Housing Rights – The Right to Own a Home
Fair housing is the practice of promoting equality of opportunity and doing so by regulating access to affordable housing. Since the inception of the Fair Housing Act in 1965, the government has worked to eliminate discrimination against African Americans and other minorities while housing their facilities. The Act has become an important way to guarantee equality in housing between people of different races, ethnic backgrounds, and genders.
Fair housing discrimination in the United States occurs when someone is denied equal access to housing on the basis of race, sex, national origin, age, religion, sexual orientation, or any other protected category. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the chief regulator of fair housing in the country. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of fair housing and equal employment practices (HEPA) enforces the provisions of the Fair Housing Laws. Most recently, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a pamphlet titled, “The Principles of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity,” which discusses the enforcement procedures of HUD’s fair housing policies and their effects on landlords and their willingness to rent to families in need.
On May 8th, the United States Federal Fair Housing Laws was released by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, HUD. According to the Federal Fair Housing Laws, every person living in the United States is entitled to equal opportunities in getting a housing loan. The Fair Housing Laws also guarantees fair housing for all people regardless of their national origin or their financial status. It is understood that the Federal Fair Housing Laws serves as a guideline for certain state and local fair housing laws. However, the Federal Laws do not define who should be considered a minority or how the government decides who is not a minority. These definitions are left to the states and the local municipalities to determine.
Another provision of the Fair Housing Laws that is being considered is the “no sex” clause. In addition to the Fair Housing Laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, and veteran status, the fair housing protections also protect individuals from unfair housing treatment. For example, a landlord could not discriminate against a person because of his or her disability if that individual has a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more of the abilities normally used or required in daily life.
A landlord may not refuse to rent to an individual because of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or even if they have a disability. In addition, the Fair Housing Laws also provides additional protections for renters. For example, a landlord cannot evict a tenant without providing notice. They may not threaten, coerce, or interfere with someone exercising a fair housing right. Finally, landlords cannot refuse to rent to someone based on their status as a student or as an immigrant.
The federal fair housing act also protects against employment discrimination. An employer may not discriminate against an employee based on any protected class. A landlord may not threaten, coerce, or interfere with someone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who do. Lastly, landlords cannot refuse to rent to a person based on their status as a student or as an immigrant.