Housing discrimination affects millions of Americans every day. It has been defined as a practice or policy of excluding a qualified applicant from housing on the basis of race, sex, national origin, age, disability, religion, or other criteria. Housing discrimination usually occurs when a person cannot obtain housing accommodations based on those criteria. Housing discrimination is illegal and violates United States law. When this happens, the affected individual may have their rights restored, but it may take years.
DescriptionThe disparate treatment of an individual on the housing market is called disparate treatment. It may happen when a person of a particular ethnic group is denied housing accommodations in favor of another of the same ethnic group or when a disabled person is denied housing accommodations in favor of another disabled person of the same ethnic group. The Fair Housing Act, passed by the Federal government in 1968, makes it possible for an individual with disabilities to obtain housing. The Fair Housing Act also requires the creation of guidelines and rules for the application of the Fair Housing Act, so that each individual can experience fair housing discrimination.
Elements Of Housing Discrimination Under The Fair Housing Act The Fair Housing Act makes it possible for an individual to be subjected to housing discrimination if he or she faces discrimination on the basis of his or her national origin, race, color, nationality, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or other traits. According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing discrimination occurs when a public housing agency fails to make reasonable accommodations for prospective renters or tenants. It is important to prevent and eliminate housing discrimination. The goal of the Fair Housing Act is to ensure that persons of all backgrounds, races, and creeds are able to live in reasonable accommodation. In addition to these general guidelines, there are specific elements of the Fair Housing Act that deal with housing discrimination.
Elements of Housing Discrimination Regarding Rental DwellingA number of elements make it possible for an individual to be subjected to housing discrimination. A landlord may refuse to rent to a prospective tenant on the basis that he or she is a certain group; such as African-Americans, Hispanics, or Asians; or fail to allow prospective tenants to rent the property on the basis of their race, color, nationality, sex, age, or national origin. Furthermore, landlords may not refuse to rent to a prospective tenant on the basis of his or her disability, unless such a restriction is based on a genuine occupational or physical disability, a rule that most states have adopted under the Rehabilitation Act. If a landlord refuses to rent a dwelling to a handicap, the owner should provide proof that the handicap substantially limits the ability of the person to enjoy equal treatment with other persons.
Another element of the fair housing act that could prevent the existence of a disability and place people of a particular status in a disadvantageous position is the “limit occupancy” rule. In this provision, a landlord must never prevent a disabled or handicapped person from occupying a dwelling because of his or her disability. Another rule of this type prohibits landlords from discriminating against individuals on the basis of their familial status, such as whether they are married or single.
Although Housing Discrimination may seem common-place in many neighborhoods, there are occasions where it reoccurs. Such instances include sex-stereotyping, requiring applicants for rental insurance benefits to pass a drug test, requiring people of a certain ethnic background to live in a gated community, or requiring students in public schools to attend a prescribed school, among many others. Some apartment complexes and local real estate brokers have been known to discriminate against potential renters on the basis of their race, religion, national origin, and marital status. When paired testing is used as part of the application process, apartment managers can help the disabled find apartments and broker discounts. In addition, if a disabled person is able-bodied enough to occupy an apartment, he or she should be treated as other normal, able-bodied tenants. In this way, paired testing can help ensure that everyone has equal chances in life.