Fair Housing vs. Unfair Housing

Do you know the difference?

Knowing the difference between fair housing and unfair housing isn't as obvious as you might think. This blog aims to present a variety of important and interesting fair housing issues.

If you're an apartment professional, avoid costly mistakes by reading the stories of others who — even with good intentions — learned compliance lessons the hard way. (For the easy way, click here.)

If you live in an apartment, get familiar with your rights when it comes to housing discrimination, as well as your options for seeking justice.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fair Housing Help: How to Tell if an Apartment Rule Illegally Discriminates Against Families With Children

Given the Fair Housing Act's (FHA) ban on familial status discrimination, you might wonder why so many landlords appear to get away with adopting and enforcing rules that single out children.

As I explain in a recent article, tenants and landlords alike can tell if a rule at your apartment building is compliant with the FHA by asking yourself two questions.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fair Housing Help: Children in Senior Housing

If you're looking for an apartment in a senior community, you might prefer not to have children as your neighbors. On the other hand, you may want a senior community that allows children, particularly if you're the legal guardians of children.

Fair housing law lets children live in senior housing, but only under certain circumstances. Find out what they are by reviewing this summary I put together of what you should expect when you start a senior housing search.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fair Housing Help: Who Qualifies for Senior Housing?

Many seniors prefer to rent an apartment in a community with other seniors. If you're one of them, you might wonder exactly what "senior housing" means and what age you must be to qualify for such a community.

To help you, I put together a summary of the Fair Housing Act's (FHA) senior housing's requirements so you can know what to expect before you begin an apartment search. Landlords who wish to limit occupancy of certain apartments to seniors should also be familiar with these requirements to avoid fair housing violations. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fair Housing Help: Single People and Housing Discrimination

If you're unmarried and looking for an apartment, you might wonder if there are apartment communities out there that limit residency to single folks. You might also be curious as to whether the fact that you're single gives you protection against housing discrimination.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fair Housing Help: Whom Does Familial Status Aim to Protect?

Many landlords refuse to rent to families with children, not knowing that the Fair Housing Act (FHA) bans discrimination based on "familial status." Also, many prospects who get turned away because they have children don't realize this is a violation of federal law.

But landlords, leasing agents, and other housing professionals who attempt to limit housing choices because prospects or tenants have children risk a discrimination claim against them.

If you have children or you plan to have children living with you in your apartment some day, you should be aware of how the law protects families with children against illegal discrimination. To avoid liability risks, landlords should also take a moment to read my article to learn who, exactly, qualifies for familial status protection.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fair Housing Help: Overcoming Discrimination Fears

Worried that a landlord's beliefs or rules may unfairly prevent you from getting an apartment or enjoying your apartment living to the fullest?

Then, there are two things you can do right now.

First, you should take a moment to learn about how the law protects prospects and tenants against illegal discrimination. Next, you should find out what you can do if you believe you've become a victim of a fair housing violation.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fair Housing Help: State Protected Classes

Many states, as well as the District of Columbia, have their own fair housing law that goes beyond the Fair Housing Act (FHA), offering protection to a wide range of people who wouldn't have a claim under federal law.

They do this by including additional protected classes, such as age, marital status, military status, sexual orientation, or source of income, for example.

Here's an interactive listing I put together of state fair housing laws. Whether you're a tenant or landlord, you can use this resource to check if your state has additional protected classes.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fair Housing Help: Apartment Hunting With a Disability

An apartment search can be a challenge for people with disabilities. For example, if you have a physical impairment, you might need an apartment that has special features, and you don't want to waste time reviewing listings or visiting buildings that don't meet your requirements.

Also, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects apartment hunters with disabilities against discrimination, so it's important that apartment hunters with disabilities become familiar with their rights before they even begin their search.

Here's a handy recap I put together of helpful information to be aware of if you're apartment hunting with a disability. Landlords may also want to review it to help ensure compliance with the FHA.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fair Housing Help: Albinism and the Fair Housing Act

Although the Fair Housing Act (FHA) doesn't specifically ban discrimination against people who have albinism, landlords may run afoul of the FHA for such discrimination in at least one of two ways.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fair Housing Help: Drug and Alcohol Addictions as Disabilities

If you're an apartment hunter and either you're an alcoholic or you have a drug addiction, you may be concerned that this will cause you problems in your search. If you're a landlord, you might wonder whether you can reject someone's apartment application simply because that person is addicted to alcohol or drugs.

The short answer is that landlords can't reject applicants for this reason because addictions are considered disabilities—but that's not the end of the story.

Check out my summary of what you need to know about fair housing law and prospects with a drug or alcohol addiction.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fair Housing Help: Disability Rights With No Disability?

Did you know that the Fair Housing Act's (FHA) ban against disability-based discrimination applies to some people who don't have a disability? Prospects and tenants who used to have a disability and even some who never had a disability may be protected, too.

I've identified three main types of situations where renters may be protected against disability discrimination even if they don't have a disability.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fair Housing Help: Making Reasonable Accommodation Requests

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires landlords to grant prospects and tenants reasonable accommodations that are needed for a disability. Although this may seem straightforward, renters and landlords alike often get confused about the procedure as well as what each party's expectations should be.

To help clear up confusion, I've put together a summary of what you need to know about reasonable accommodation requests under the FHA.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fair Housing Help: Rights for Renters With Disabilities

Compliance with disability-based housing discrimination rules under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) isn't obvious or just a matter of common sense. There are certain things landlords must and mustn't do when dealing with prospects and tenants who have a disability.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fair Housing Help: Finding an Accessible Apartment

If you've got a physical disability and need an apartment that offers accessible features, take advantage of Web resources so you can run an efficient search and get a rental that meets your needs.

I've outlined how to do this in my article, "How to Find an Accessible Apartment Online."