HMAC Supports Fair Housing Act

HMAC Supports Fair Housing Act

Just this month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) charged the owner and manager of a West St., Paul, Minn., apartment complex with discrimination.  The charges is with regards to the landlord’s refusal to allow an Army veteran, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, to keep his dog which serve as his emotional support animal.  This refusal is classified as an act of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.  Home Mortgage Alliance Corporation (HMAC) fully supports this act and in this article we discuss it even more.

What is the Fair Housing Act?

It is an act which protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for any housing. The Fair Housing Act specifically cover discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children.  It covers most housing except for owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.

What is Prohibited Under the Fair Housing Act?

Fair Housing Act

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

In 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 a mortgage loan
  • Refuse to provide information regarding loans
  • Impose 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.

In Addition: It is 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.

Fair Housing Act and Additional Protections if You Have a Disability

The Fair Housing Act also gives additional protection 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.

In this case 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.

The Fair Housing Act Provides Housing Opportunities for Families

Another great provision of this act is it provides 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.

What To Do When You Think Your Rights Are Violated?

If you think that your rights had been violated you can file a complaint using the Housing Discrimination Complaint Form.  This form is available for you to download, complete and return, or complete online and submit.  You may also write HUD a letter, or telephone the HUD Office nearest you. Don’t forget that you only have one year after an alleged violation to file a complaint with HUD.

Please see below steps for further knowledge regarding filling your complaint:

Step 1: What to Tell 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

Step 2:Where to Write or Call:

Send the Housing Discrimination Complaint Form or a letter to the HUD Office nearest you or you may call that office directly.

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
  • Assistance in reading and completing forms

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