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Fair Housing Law - What is It?

An important Federal Law (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, Fair Housing Act, as amended), prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and the handicapped  (disabled).

What is Specifically Prohibited?

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 handicap:

  • Refuse to rent or sell you housing;
  • Refuse to negotiate with you for housing;
  • Make housing unavailable to you or your family;
  • Deny you a dwelling;
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for you for the sale or rental of a dwelling;
  • Provide you with different housing services or facilities;
  • Falsely deny to you that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental;
  • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting); or
  • Deny you or anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.

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 you a mortgage loan;

  • Refuse to provide you with information regarding loans;
  • Impose upon you different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees;
  • Discriminate in appraising property;
  • Refuse to purchase a loan; or
  • Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan.

It is also illegal for anyone to:

  • Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right;
  • 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.

What additional rights do I have if I am disabled?

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.

How does the law affect the construction of new buildings?

In buildings that were 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 were 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.

How does the law affect 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, it may not discriminate against families in which one or more children under 18 live 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 18.

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

  • 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 intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

A transition period permits residents on or before September 13, 1988, to continue living in the housing, regardless of their age, without interfering with the exemption.

What can I do if I think my rights have been violated?

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides assistance with any problem of housing discrimination. If you think your rights have been violated, you can obtain a Housing Discrimination Complaint Form directly from HUD, complete and return the form; or complete the form online and submit; or you may write HUD a letter, or telephone the HUD Office nearest you. You have one year after an alleged violation to file a complaint with HUD, but you should file it as soon as possible.

What information must I provide to HUD?

  • Your name and address;
  • The name and address of the person your complaint is against (the respondent);
  • The address or other identification to the housing involved;
  • A short description to the alleged violation (the event that caused you to believe your rights were violated);
  • The date(s) to the alleged violation.

If You Are Disabled, HUD also provides:

  • A toll-free TTY phone for the hearing impaired: 1-800-927-9275;
  • Interpreters;
  • Tapes and Braille materials; and
  • Assistance in reading and completing forms. 

 

 
 
 

Fair Housing Law - What is It?

An important Federal Law (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, Fair Housing Act, as amended), prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and the handicapped  (disabled).

What is Specifically Prohibited?

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 handicap:

  • Refuse to rent or sell you housing;
  • Refuse to negotiate with you for housing;
  • Make housing unavailable to you or your family;
  • Deny you a dwelling;
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for you for the sale or rental of a dwelling;
  • Provide you with different housing services or facilities;
  • Falsely deny to you that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental;
  • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting); or
  • Deny you or anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.

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 you a mortgage loan;

  • Refuse to provide you with information regarding loans;
  • Impose upon you different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees;
  • Discriminate in appraising property;
  • Refuse to purchase a loan; or
  • Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan.

It is also illegal for anyone to:

  • Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right;
  • 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.

What additional rights do I have if I am disabled?

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.

How does the law affect the construction of new buildings?

In buildings that were 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 were 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.

How does the law affect 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, it may not discriminate against families in which one or more children under 18 live 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 18.

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

  • 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 intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

A transition period permits residents on or before September 13, 1988, to continue living in the housing, regardless of their age, without interfering with the exemption.

What can I do if I think my rights have been violated?

Please call Dr. Elda Sinani, LL.M. City's Fair Housing Officer at (860) 757-9275

or

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides assistance with any problem of housing discrimination. If you think your rights have been violated, you can obtain a Housing Discrimination Complaint Form directly from HUD, complete and return the form; or complete the form online and submit; or you may write HUD a letter, or telephone the HUD Office nearest you. You have one year after an alleged violation to file a complaint with HUD, but you should file it as soon as possible.

What information must I provide to HUD?

  • Your name and address;
  • The name and address of the person your complaint is against (the respondent);
  • The address or other identification to the housing involved;
  • A short description to the alleged violation (the event that caused you to believe your rights were violated);
  • The date(s) to the alleged violation.

If You Are Disabled, HUD also provides:

  • A toll-free TTY phone for the hearing impaired: 1-800-927-9275;
  • Interpreters;
  • Tapes and Braille materials; and
  • Assistance in reading and completing forms. 

 

HARTFORD CITY HALL ADDRESS: 550 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103 PHONE: (860)757-9311 HOURS: 8AM - 5PM