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, October 30, 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook Decries Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Housing

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Apple CEO Tim Cook penned a column today in Bloomberg Businessweek in which he publicly acknowledged his sexual orientation. "I'm proud to be gay," Cook wrote, "and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

In his column, the chief of the company known for its "Think Different" campaign noted that although "America is moving toward marriage equality," many laws across the country still allow people to treat others differently because of their sexual orientation. "There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay," Cook pointed out.

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) has helped thousands of people across the United States seek justice and compensation for illegal housing discrimination. But the FHA protects people based on only seven protected classes — race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status.

Many states, cities, and towns have enacted their own fair housing law that includes additional protected classes, such as sexual orientation. (For a scrollable list of additional protected classes in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, check out the "Protected Classes Tool" at fairhousingresources.com.) Also, new federal regulations bar housing providers who receive HUD funding or have loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration from discriminating based on "actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status."

Despite these advancements, Tim Cook's observation is correct. In much of the United States, 46 years after the FHA's enactment, landlords can still legally evict tenants — or refuse to rent to them in the first place — based on knowledge or suspicion of their sexual orientation.

Is this right? Should it change? Will it?

What do you think?

Learn more about fair housing compliance at FairHousingHelper.com.