What Housing Is Covered?
The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In some circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.
Who does this Act Apply To?
The Fair Housing Act applies to property managers, owners, landlords, real estate agents, homeowners associations, banks, saving institutions, credit unions, insurance companies, mortgage lenders and appraisers. If you are working with a property manager or real estate agent to buy a home or locate a rental or if you are trying to get a mortgage or homeowner's insurance you cannot be treated differently because of your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability.
What Is Prohibited?
In the Sale and Rental of Housing: No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability:
- Refuse to rent or sell housing;
- Refuse to negotiate for housing;
- Make housing unavailable;
- Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental;
- Persuade owners to sell or rent based on the neighbors race, religion, familial status, etc (blockbusting);
- Persuade or encourage a renter or buyer to reside in a particular area based on their race, religion, familial status, etc. (steering);
- Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing;
- Failing to accept, consider, negotiate, process or accurately communicate a bona fide offer;
- Imposing different sales prices or rental charges for the sale or rental of a dwelling upon a person
- Using different qualification criteria or applications, or sales or rental standards or procedures, such as income standards, application requirements, application fees, credit analysis, or sales or rental approval procedures or other requirements.
- Denying or delaying the processing of an application made by a purchaser or renter or refusing to approve such a person for occupancy in a cooperative or condominium;
- Employing policies, practices or other devices to segregate or reject applicants, purchasers, or renters, refusing to take or to show listings of dwellings in certain areas because of protected class or refusing to deal with certain brokers or agents because they or one of their clients are of a particular race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability; and/or
- Indicating through words or conduct that a dwelling, which is available for viewing, sale or rental has been sold or rented.
In Mortgage Lending: No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap (disability):
- Refuse to make a mortgage loan;
- Refuse to provide information regarding loans;
- Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees;
- Discriminate in appraising property;
- Refuse to purchase a loan; and/or
- Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan.
In Addition: It is illegal for anyone to:
- Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.
- Refusing to provide municipal services, property or hazard insurance for dwellings or providing such services differently.
- Threatening, intimidating or interfering with persons in their enjoyment of a dwelling.
- Intimidating or threatening any person because that person has inquired about their rights under the Dallas Fair Housing Ordinance, the Federal Fair Housing Act or filed a housing discrimination complainant.
- Retaliating against any person because that person has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in a proceeding under the fair housing law.
Additional Protection if You Have a Disability
If you or someone associated with you:
- Have a physical or mental disability (including hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex and mental retardation) that substantially limits one or more major life activities
- Have a record of such a disability or
- Are regarded as having such a disability
Your landlord may not:
- Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing. (Where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move.)
- Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing.
Example: A building with a "no pets" policy must allow a visually impaired tenant to keep a guide dog.
Example: An apartment complex that offers tenants ample, unassigned parking must honor a request from a mobility-impaired tenant for a reserved space near their apartment if necessary to assure that one can have access to their apartment.
Factors Not Protected By the Fair Housing Act:
- An apartment complex with specifications for rental history, credit history, and has restrictions based on criminal history, and
- Restrictions based on marital status
However, housing need not be made available to a person who is a direct threat to the health or safety of others or who currently uses illegal drugs.