Fair Housing

What is fair housing?

Fair Housing refers to laws and regulations that make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of a protected class in many activities which relate to the sale, lease or rental of housing.

What Are Protected Classes?

Protected classes include:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Familial status (Families with children under the age of 18 or a pregnant female)

What Is Not Covered?

  • Criminal History
  • Credit History
  • Rental History
  • Income /Economic Status
  • Military
  • Marital Status
  • Personal Animosity

Keep In Mind:

The same policies, rules and guidelines must be applied to all applicants. If you are denied housing, you can ask for a written explanation for that denial. You may also request a copy of the document used to deny you such as a credit report, criminal background check, income verses rent ratio, etc.

WHERE TO MAIL YOUR CLAIM FORM OR INQUIRE ABOUT A CLAIM

U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Five Points Plaza
40 Marietta Street, 16th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303-2808
Phone: (800) 400-8091
Fax (404) 331-1021 — TTY (404) 730-2654

Miami Office

U.S. Dept. of HUD-FHEO
909 S.E. 1st Ave., Room 500
Miami, FL 33131
Phone (305) 536-4479

Locally

Collier County Community and Human Services
3339 East Tamiami Trail
Building H, Suite 211
Naples, FL 34112
Phone: (239) 252-2670
housinginfo@colliercountyfl.gov

Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications

If You or Someone Associated With You:

Has a physical or mental disability or illness such as cancer, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, mobility or vision that substantially limits one or more major life activities or has a record of such a disability or illness or is regarded as having a disability, a housing provider may not:

  1. Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if it may be necessary for you to fully use the housing. (Where reasonable, a landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move.)
  2. Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services, if it may be necessary for you to use the housing on an equal basis with nondisabled persons.

An example of a reasonable accommodation would be:

Tenants with disabilities have the right to request reasonable accommodation for assistance animals, including service animals, emotional support animals and companion animals. These animals provide support and might not have any particular training.

An additional note about assistance animals:

Housing providers are entitled to verify the existence of the disability and the need for the accommodation, if it is not readily apparent. You do not have to provide details about your disability or the specific task the service animal performs. Tenants with service animals are required to follow all pet-related rules and guidelines such as leash and waste disposal laws and noise policies. Landlords cannot charge tenants extra fees, pet deposits or cleaning charges for service animals. Weight limits cannot be imposed for a service animal.

Under the Fair Housing Act, It is Against the Law to

Discriminate Against a Protected Class By:

  • Stating that housing is unavailable, when in fact it is available, or showing apartments or homes only in certain neighborhoods.
  • Setting different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling, or by refusing to rent or sell housing.
  • Advertising housing only to preferred groups of people.
  • Refusing to provide information regarding mortgage loans, denying a mortgage loan or imposing different terms or conditions on a mortgage loan.
  • Denying property insurance.
  • Failing to design and construct housing in an accessible manner.
  • Refusing to make reasonable accommodations. Refer to the section on protection, if you have a disability.
  • Harassing, coercing, intimidating, or interfering with anyone exercising or assisting someone else with their fair housing rights.
  • This includes sexual harassment.

Other Fair Housing Rights

What is Housing for Older Persons?

HUD has determined that the dwelling is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government program or it is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older or it houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

Exemptions For Older Persons Under the Fair Housing Act:

  • The community publishes and adheres to policies and procedures specifically intended for older persons and,
  • The community complies with rules for verification.

Equal Access for LGBTQ Persons

The Fair Housing Act does not specifically include sexual orientation and gender identity as a prohibited basis. However, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) person’s experience with sexual orientation or gender identity housing discrimination may still be covered by the Fair Housing Act.

In addition, housing providers that receive HUD funding, have loans insured by Federal Housing Administration (FHA), as well as lenders insured by FHA, may be subject to HUD program regulations intended to ensure equal access of LGBTQ persons.

If You Believe Your Rights Have Been Violated:

HUD or a state or local fair housing agency can help you file a complaint at no charge within one year of the date on which the alleged act of discrimination occurred.

Things You Will Be Asked When Filing A Complaint:

  • Name and phone number of the manager or agent
  • Address of the apartment or house
  • How you found out about the apartment or house
  • The number of bedrooms
  • Personal information requested of you
  • Information you volunteered
  • The requirements for occupancy
  • When the unit will be available
  • What happened to you?
  • Why do you feel you are a victim of housing discrimination?
  • Date of the last act of discrimination