Fair Housing Department


Fair Housing 101​

Requirements for New Buildings
In buildings that are ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, and have an elevator and four or more units:

  • Public and common areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities
  • Doors and hallways must be wide enough for wheelchairs
  • All units must have:
    • An accessible route into and through the unit
    • Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls
    • Reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars and
    • Kitchens and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs. 

If a building with four or more units has no elevator and was ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, these standards apply to ground floor units.

These requirements for new buildings do not replace any more stringent standards in State or local law.
In accessibility standards there may be special circumstances that may necessitate individual review.

Housing Opportunities for Families
Unless a building or community qualifies as housing for older persons, it may not discriminate based on familial status. That is, one may not discriminate against families in which one or more children under age of 18 living with:

  • A parent;
  • A person who has legal custody of the child or children; or
  • The designee of the parent or legal custodian, with the parent or custodian's written permission. 

Familial status protection also applies to pregnant women and anyone securing legal custody of a child under age 18.

Exemption: Housing for older persons is exempt from the prohibition against familial status

  • The HUD Secretary has determined that it 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 an intent to house persons who are 55 or older.