As an important aspect of life, housing is essential for every individual. Over the years, millions of people have faced housing discrimination, particularly in the renting sector. Housing discrimination can occur to anyone, and it is a common problem as people seek to find rental properties. Unfortunately, tenants who have experienced discrimination of any form may find themselves feeling vulnerable and uncertain about their rights. This article covers everything you need to know about housing discrimination in renting.
What is Housing Discrimination?
Housing discrimination occurs when a landlord or property manager treats a prospective or current tenant differently based on certain factors. Some of these factors include religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, familial status, age, sexual orientation, and disability. Other factors include the number of children in the household, the source of the tenant’s income, or the tenant’s marital status.
Types of Housing Discrimination
There are several types of housing discrimination that tenants may face, and understanding these forms of discrimination is crucial in knowing your rights. They include:
1. Racial Discrimination: This is the most common type of discrimination in the renting sector. A landlord may deny housing to someone based on their race or national origin.
2. Disability Discrimination: Landlords may refuse to rent to someone because of a perceived disability that the tenant may have. They may also fail to make certain accommodations for disabled tenants.
3. Familial Discrimination: Discrimination may also occur based on a family’s status. A landlord may refuse to rent properties to families with children.
4. Source of Income Discrimination: This happens when a landlord declines to rent to someone based on the source of their income or how they receive their salary.
5. Sexual Orientation Discrimination: Landlords may discriminate against an individual’s sexual orientation when seeking to rent housing. This can occur to anyone, regardless of who they choose to love.
6. Age Discrimination: A landlord may refuse to rent to an individual based on their age, particularly when the tenant is 55 or above.
What Can Tenants Do?
If you are a victim of housing discrimination, there are laws in place to protect you. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) of 1968 is a federal law in the United States that prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability. Additional laws in various U.S. states also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, age, and other factors.
Tenants can file a complaint against their landlord or property manager with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or their state’s housing discrimination agency. HUD’s website has information about filing a complaint and links to state agencies.
Housing discrimination is a form of prejudice that tenants face all over the world, and it’s unfortunately common in the renting sector. It is important to be aware of your rights and take action against any discrimination. If you experience housing discrimination, you must speak out, report the situation, and take appropriate action. Remember, everyone has the right to safe, secure, and prejudice-free housing regardless of their background or circumstance.