The Fair Housing Act was introduced as a component of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The act provides equal opportunity to all who buy, sell, rent, finance or insure housing. In a nutshell, the act protects each individual's basic right to choose where to live and ensures equal treatment after obtaining housing.
Who is protected?
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, or religion. The Kentucky General Assembly later broadened the law to prohibit discrimination in housing based on disability, gender, and familial status. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is also forbidden in Covington, Danville, Frankfort, Lexington, Louisville, Morehead, and Vicco.
On February 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a final rule that prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status in regards to housing programs assisted by HUD or subject to a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration.
|A landlord puts families with children in a separate building so as not to disturb other tenants.||If the owner in this scenario rents to persons of all age groups (i.e. does not specialize in seniors, etc.), then this would be discrimination based on familial status.|
|A home owner is selling his home in a predominantly white neighborhood and displays a preference for white buyers.||This is discrimination based on race.|
|A landlord charges Hispanic tenants a higher deposit because he or she believes they cause more damage than non-Hispanics.||This is discrimination based on national origin.|
|A landlord refuses to rent to a tenant with a history of mental illness.||This is discrimination based on disability; however, housing does not have to be made if the person poses a direct threat to other tenants.|
|A black family in the market for a new home hires a real estate agent. The agent decides to show them only houses in all-black neighborhoods, even though there are many houses in the same price range in other areas.||This is unlawful under state and federal Fair Housing Laws based on what is called “steering." It is illegal for a real estate agent to restrict a client's housing search to a neighborhood with a certain racial composition.|
|A property owner advertises an open rental property with the phrase “Christians preferred."||This is unlawful under the state and federal Fair Housing Laws based on religion.|
These are just a few of the ways housing discrimination can occur. To learn more, The following materials are available:
Information can also be found on the Department of Justice Web site.
If you feel that you have been a victim of housing discrimination, please review the Fair Housing Complaint Chart and contact the Lexington Fair Housing Council or the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.