Fair Housing Resources

What Fair Housing Is

When looking to buy or rent a property, it is important to know that you are protected under fair housing laws. Fair housing laws are some of the strongest civil rights statutes on the books. Federal and State laws make it illegal to discriminate against people when renting or purchasing a unit based on any of the following "protected classes":

  • Age
  • Ancestry
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Familial status (i.e. families with children under 18)
  • Gender or Gender Identity
  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • National origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Status as a person who is a recipient of federal, state, or local public assistance or who is a tenant receiving federal, state or local housing subsidies including rental assistance or rental supplements
  • Veteran history/military status of the armed forces of the United States

This law also covers advertising, including making discriminatory statements. Ads that express a preference for, or exclusion of, a particular group of people are illegal. In addition, there is a duty to provide reasonable accommodations to a person with a disability when it is necessary to ensure an equal housing opportunity.

Fair Lending

These laws apply to banks and mortgage companies as well. When you are looking for a mortgage, it is essential to compare loan offers from different banks and mortgage companies. Be wary of mortgage brokers who tell you there are no other options or who advertise "No credit? Bad credit? No problem!". Don’t let yourself feel pressured into a mortgage that is not right for you. Here are some ways to avoid problems:

  • Educate yourself. Take a First Time Homebuyer course and understand the industry terminology.
  • Be a smart consumer. Shop around and compare mortgage products.
  • Get your finances in order. Know how much you can afford.
  • Talk to someone you trust who isn’t going to make any money from the deal.
  • Never agree to a loan if you don’t have the income to cover all of your monthly debts, including the mortgage!
  • Get copies of all documents before closing, and read them carefully. If you do not understand them, seek help in reviewing them.
  • Get a second opinion. Contact a community organization to obtain financial counseling before you sign any documents, or seek advice from an attorney.


Who should you contact if you feel that you have been discriminated against? The following agencies may be helpful in answering your fair housing questions and in providing additional information and guidance on fair housing.