April is Fair Housing Month
The state of Ohio joins the nation in celebrating National Fair Housing Month. The month of April is a designated time to celebrate the advancements of equal access to housing regardless of race, color, religion, sex, nationality, familial and military status, disability or ancestry. Enacted by Congress in 1968, the Fair Housing Act applies to housing and housing-related activities including:
- Apartment and home rentals
- Real Estate Sales
- Mortgage lending
- Homeowners insurance
Discrimination in housing and lending comes in all types of forms and does not require someone blatantly slamming a door or making a disparaging remark. In fact, many renters and homeowners may not recognize they are being discriminated against if their experience lacks blatant prejudice. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), two million instances of housing discrimination are estimated to take place each year across the nation. Despite this, less than two percent of those instances are reported as many renters and homebuyers do not fully understand what activities are illegal under the Fair Housing Act.
Examples of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act include:
- Refusal to rent or sell housing
- Refusal to negotiate for housing
- Making housing unavailable
- Setting different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a property
- Providing different housing services or facilities
- Falsely denying housing is available for inspection, sale or rental of a property
- Persuading owners to sell or rent their home for profit
- Denying access to or membership in a facility or service related to the sale of housing
- Advertising or making any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap. This prohibition applies to single family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) is tasked with administering and enforcing federal laws and policies to ensure all Americans have equal access to housing.
To learn more about the office and Fair Housing rights or to file a Fair Housing violation complaint, visit http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp. You may also contact the Housing Discrimination Hotline via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-800-669-9777 (Voice) or 1-800-927-9275 (TTY).
The Columbus Fair Housing Center
FHEO's local office is the Columbus Fair Housing Center. To learn more about this office and to receive guidance and technical assistance visit http://www.hud.gov/local/oh/working/localpo/fheo.cfm
Fair Housing Agencies in Ohio
National Fair Housing Advocate
Fair Lending Guide
U.S. Department of Justice
Director of Communications and Marketing