Fair Housing Laws

HOUSING DISCRIMINATION IS ILLEGAL

The amended federal Fair Housing Act prohibits, nationally, any discrimination in the sale, rental, lending, insurance, or advertising of housing on the basis of: Race · Color · National Origin · Religion · Disability · Sex · Familial Status (as in whether or not you have children)

Florida’s fair housing laws provide protection against discrimination on these additional bases: HIV Status · Pregnancy

Miami-Dade County’s local fair housing laws provide protection against discrimination on these additional bases: Age · Ancestry ·  Being a Victim of Domestic Violence · Gender Expression or Identity · Marital Status · Sexual Orientation · Source of Income

Broward County’s local fair housing laws provide protection against discrimination on these additional bases: Age · Gender Expression or Identity · Marital Status · Political Affiliation · Sexual Orientation

There may be further protections under your city’s laws.

PROHIBITED ACTIONS

In housing-related transactions, for both rentals and sales, no one may treat you differently because of the applicable criteria above in bold.  This includes, but is not limited to, the following, when done because of those criteria:

  • Refusing to rent, sell, or negotiate for housing
  • Making housing unavailable or falsely claiming that housing is unavailable for inspection, rent, or sale
  • Setting different terms for the rental or sale of housing
  • Discrimination in a home loan or insurance
  • Pushing people to live only in certain areas (steering)
  • Pushing owners to sell or rent their homes (blockbusting)
  • Denial of a membership/amenity related to housing
  • Unequal treatment in servicing or compliance inspections
  • Making an advertisement, notice, or statement that indicates any limitation, preference, or discrimination

*    Laws also prohibit threatening, coercing, intimidating, or interfering with anyone exercising a fair housing right

ADDITIONAL PROTECTIONS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

A housing provider must allow a tenant with a disability to make reasonable modifications (structural changes) to living spaces or common areas – possibly at the tenant’s expense – if necessary for the use and enjoyment of the housing.  Example: the installation of a wheelchair ramp.

Also, if necessary, a housing provider must make reasonable accommodations (policy changes) in rules, practices, or services for a tenant with a disability to use and enjoy the housing – without cost, in some cases.  Example: a reserved parking space for a tenant with a disability, even though parking is usually unreserved.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE DISCRIMINATION

Instead of a “Keep Out” sign, housing discrimination usually comes hidden behind a friendly smile and a handshake. Maybe you’re told that you’ll get a call back about your moving into an apartment, but you never get that call.  Or perhaps you’ve been clearly told that a home is unavailable to you, yet you learn that it’s still being advertised or listed.

You should also listen for phrases like these, as they may be warning signs of discrimination:

  • “Sorry, I rented that apartment just before you came.”
  • “Sorry, the price has gone up.”
  • “This building is for adults only.”
  • “Ramps?  Handrails?  I can’t make those changes, sorry.”
  • “Do you think you can afford this neighborhood?”
  • “You wouldn’t like this neighborhood.”
  • “I’ll need to pre-qualify you before I show you the homes.”
  • “Sorry, that house just went off the market.”
  • “We need at least a 25% down payment.”
  • “You haven’t been at your job long enough to get a loan.”
  • “I can’t help you; you should work with another bank.”

REPORTING HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

If you feel that you have been discriminated against, we strongly encourage you to take the following steps:

– Keep a record of any meetings and phone calls with the housing provider, noting what happened and what was said.

– Include specific information such as names, titles, meeting places, dates, and times.

– Save receipts, applications, business cards, leases, and any other documents obtained during the transaction.

CALL THE HOPE, INC. HELPLINES TODAY!

MIAMI-DADE: 305-651-HOPE (4673)

BROWARD: 954-567-0545

TDD: 1-800-955-8771