Fair Housing: Federal Laws
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed August 30, 2017
Fair Housing Laws Overview
Fair housing laws are intended to protect an individual's right to rent, sell, or own housing without the threat of unlawful discrimination. The purpose of these laws is to provide equal opportunities in housing to all. Below is a list of federal laws that prohibit a number of types of housing discrimination, and links to the full texts of those laws. (Note: Many states have civil rights laws of their own which mirror those at the federal level, so your state may have its own fair housing / housing discrimination laws that are very similar to those identified below.)
Fair Housing Act
Under the Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability).
List of Federal Laws
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504 prohibits discrimination based on disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
- Section 109 of Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 Section 109 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or religion in programs and activities receiving financial assistance from HUD's Community Development and Block Grant Program.
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Title II prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs, services, and activities provided or made available by public entities. HUD enforces Title II when it relates to state and local public housing, housing assistance and housing referrals.
- Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 The Architectural Barriers Act requires that buildings and facilities designed, constructed, altered, or leased with certain federal funds after September 1969 must be accessible to and useable by handicapped persons.
- Age Discrimination Act of 1975 The Age Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.
- Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.
Presidential Executive Orders Related to Fair Housing
There have been several Executive Orders throughout the years relating to Fair Housing. Executive Orders are one way for a one way a U.S. president to make changes to the nation's policies. Let's take a look at a few:
- Executive Order 11063 Executive Order 11063 prohibits discrimination in the sale, leasing, rental, or other disposition of properties and facilities owned or operated by the federal government or provided with federal funds.
- Executive Order 11246 Executive Order 11246, as amended, bars discrimination in federal employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
- Executive Order 12892 Executive Order 12892, as amended, requires federal agencies to affirmatively further fair housing in their programs and activities, and provides that the Secretary of HUD will be responsible for coordinating the effort. The Order also establishes the President's Fair Housing Council, which will be chaired by the Secretary of HUD.
- Executive Order 12898 Executive Order 12898 requires that each federal agency conduct its program, policies, and activities that substantially affect human health or the environment in a manner that does not exclude persons based on race, color, or national origin.
- Executive Order 13166 Executive Order 13166 eliminates, to the extent possible, limited English proficiency as a barrier to full and meaningful participation by beneficiaries in all federally-assisted and federally conducted programs and activities.
- Executive Order 13217 Executive Order 13217 requires federal agencies to evaluate their policies and programs to determine if any can be revised or modified to improve the availability of community-based living arrangements for persons with disabilities.
Talk to an Attorney about Your Discrimination Claim
Have you experienced any of the following scenarios: being steered to purchase a home in a certain neighborhood, being denied a rental unit because you have a seeing-eye dog, being evicted because you have a mental disability? If you have faced similar situations, then you might want to consider filing a discrimination claim. Talk to an experienced attorney today about your options.
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