The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a government agency that oversees home mortgage lending practices. This department’s main objective is to make ensure that all citizens have access to affordable housing.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development main goal is to ensure that all citizens have the right to purchase and own a house. It is illegal, under Federal law, to discriminate against an individual on the basis of his or her
- ethnicity or race
- skin color and facial features
- country of origin
- religious or spiritual beliefs
- political alignment or affiliation
- sex or sexual orientation
- familial or marital status
- physical disability
If you have encountered discrimination due to any of the factors listed above while attempting to acquire a home, you may be able to file a Housing Discrimination Complaint. Housing discrimination is a violation of your civil rights. Some examples of housing discrimination are:
- A landlord evicting a family that belongs to a racial minority, in favor of an incoming tenant, on the sole basis of the current occupant(s)’s race
- A homeowner refusing to sell a home to a family or individual because of the buyer’s religious or political beliefs
- A real estate developer telling a family that they are only allowed to purchase houses in a certain part of a housing subdivision or community, due to their ethnicity
- A real estate advertisement that indicates a preference or predisposition towards or against a certain race
- A landlord informing a family that belongs to a racial minority that they have no units available, despite accommodations actually being available
- A landlord disallowing the installation of a wheelchair-accessible ramp, at the renter’s expense, to facilitate the needs of a tenant who requires a wheelchair for transportation
The Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act, passed in 1968, is designed to protect the rights of individuals who wish to purchase or lease a home. Under the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal for a landlord or seller to discriminate against individuals that belong to a group. The Act applies to landlords who rent or lease rooms or space in their own home, provided that their home includes accommodations intended for the lease of at least three independent families. The owner of a five-unit townhouse who also lives in the building would is subject to the Fair Housing Act; a homeowner renting out one spare room is not.
One of the primary objectives of the Fair Housing Act is to create a housing market where the background of an individual is not used to exclude them from the housing market.
Filing a Complaint
If you believe that you have been subjected to housing discrimination, you may file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Before filing a complaint, it may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer that handles discrimination cases.