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Fair Housing

Fair Housing - It's Your Right!

Fair Housing PosterFair Housing Overview

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, better known as the Fair Housing Act (FHA), made it unlawful to discriminate in any aspect relating to the sale, rental or financing of housing or in the provisions of brokerage services or facilities in connection with the sale or rental of a dwelling because of RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, DISABILITY, NATIONAL ORIGIN, FAMILIAL STATUS (WHERE THERE ARE CHILDREN UNDER 18 AND/OR A PREGNANT WOMAN. 

The Fair Housing Amendments of 1988 was enacted to strengthen the administrative enforcement provisions of Title VIII and it added prohibitions against discrimination in housing on the basis of disability and familial status. It also provides for the award of monetary damages where discriminatory housing practices are found. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the federal agency with primary responsibility for enforcing the Fair Housing Act. Since the passage of the FHA, there have been great improvements in providing equal housing opportunities. However, discrimination still exists, making the FHA an extremely important tool in fighting against housing discrimination.

The City of Cape Coral has a locally adopted Fair Housing Ordinance that was developed to ensure that the City affirmatively furthers fair housing within its jurisdiction.

What is Housing Discrimination?
How do you know if you have been the victim of illegal housing discrimination? Housing discrimination comes in many forms and is often subtle. Some signs of possible discrimination include:
  • A refusal to sell, rent, or show available housing
  • Requiring different terms and conditions for identical dwellings, i.e. charging higher rent, security deposit for different tenants
  • Being told that the dwelling isn’t right for you or your family
  • Being told that housing isn’t available in an apartment with a “For Rent” sign
  • Housing advertisements that say “no kids” or “adults only”
  • A refusal to make a reasonable accommodation or allow a modification to make the dwelling accessible for a person with a disability
  • Harassment or intimidation
  • Offering non-standard and unfavorable terms in the purchase of a home or property insurance
  • Terms of availability that change between a phone contact and an in-person visit
  • Being steered to racially segregated neighborhoods during your home search
  • Excessive or inappropriate questioning upon requesting information about a dwelling

What do I do if I suspect I have been discriminated against?
You can file an administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or a substantially equivalent state or local agency.  You may also file a lawsuit in court.  Where you should file will depend on several things, including the type of discrimination and when the alleged discrimination occurred.

You can contact the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity about filing a complaint at (800) 669-9777.  For the hearing impaired, call TTY (800) 927-9275.  You can also visit HUD online.

Links to Fair Housing Web Sites and Resources:
HUD Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity HUD Online Fair Housing Complaint 
HUD Fair Lending Information Fair Housing Resources for Realtors
National Fair Housing Alliance  

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