Fair Housing laws have been in the news lately and they are one of the most heavily searched topics online.
If own Rental Property you owe it to yourself to brush up on the latest information regarding Housing Law so you know what to expect should you encounter a situation where knowledge of the Fair Housing Laws will be needed.
Here are the most common frequently asked questions regarding Fair Housing Law.
Historically and statistically, identifiable groups of people have received unfavorable treatment. In attempting to rent, buy, get a mortgage, or secure home insurance, they have been denied, harassed, given less favorable terms and conditions, or offered a lower level of service than other groups. As a result, fair housing laws were enacted to protect against illegal housing discrimination based on “protected class status.” These laws prohibit illegal discrimination in housing by housing providers, such as landlords and real estate companies as well as other entities, such as municipalities, banks or other lending institutions, HOAs, and homeowner’s insurance companies. Neighbor-on-neighbor and harassment is also illegal under the law.
The intention of federal, state, and local fair housing laws is to require that all individuals be given the same treatment, the same services, and offered an equal opportunity to live in a home of their choice; in other words, the same rights as everyone else. All of us fall within one or more protected classes, and are all, therefore, protected under the law! The only “special rights” are those provided to individuals with disabilities in order to establish equal access to housing.
What housing is covered by the Fair Housing Act?
The Fair Housing Act covers most dwellings. In some limited circumstances, housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members may be excluded from complying with the Act. Homeless shelters and motels may be considered dwellings.
WHAT DO HATE CRIMES HAVE TO DO WITH FAIR HOUSING?
Hate crimes–be it against a particular race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, etc.–harm individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities. A single incident can send fear throughout an entire community. When hate crimes are combined with housing–that is, when committed at the victim’s home, etc.–it’s not only a criminal matter, it’s a fair housing violation, as well.
WHAT IS HOUSING DISCRIMINATION?
Housing discrimination is treating a person, or a group of persons, differently than others are treated under the same or similar circumstances, or denying the benefits or privileges provided to others. This is illegal if it is done based on one’s protected class status, or because of the protected class of those s/he associates with. Denying an individual or group the right to purchase a home, secure a home loan or homeowners insurance, and buy or rent housing based on their protected status is illegal under federal, state and local fair housing laws and ordinances.
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