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Fair Housing Center Of Northern Alabama
WHAT IS HOUSING DISCRIMINATION
Housing discrimination is always illegal and it can happen in many ways.
There is intentional discrimination, in which property owners, landlords or homeowners associations try to keep
certain people-including people of color, families with children and the disabled-from living where they want.
For instances, if a landlord does not rent to people of color, this is housing discrimination. Or, if a real estate agent
warns prospective clients that a house is in a neighborhood primarily occupied by African Americans, that too is
Sometimes, a landlord, seller or real estate agent tells people of color that an advertised rental dwelling or home for
sale is no longer available when it still is. The people interested in the rental are turned away with a friendly smile
and handshake, and leave without suspecting that they were victims of housing discrimination.
Businesses such as mortgage companies and insurance firms may discriminate in more subtle ways. They may
routinely refuse loans or insurance to prospective buyers of older homes in neighborhoods where home values are
low. Often in such neighborhoods, residents, and prospective buyers in minorities, and so these practices result in
fewer loans or insurance policies for people of color.
Housing discrimination is seldom obvious. It can be cleverly disguised and is often done with a handshake and a
smile. Your rights are violated when, because of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or familial
status (because you have children), you are not allowed to:
View or rent an apartment
View or purchase a home
Apply for or secure a home loan
Purchase homeowners or renters insurance
Though some of the following statements may seem reasonable, they could, in fact, be attempts to keep you from
renting the apartment or buying the home of your choice.
Be SUSPICIOUS when you hear lines like these:
"We're holding the apartment for someone, but you may call back in a day or two."
"We just rented the last apartment."
"Fill out the Application and someone will get back to you."
This building is for adults only."
"We can't take care of handicapped people here."
"The homes are too expensive in that neighborhood."
"We can't seem to make an appointment to show you that house."
"I'll need more detailed financial information before I can show you homes."
"The owner just took the house off the market."
"I'll refer you to an FHA lender for prequalifing."
"We'd like to make this loan, but we need at least a 20% down payment."
"You haven't been at your job long enough to quality for a mortgage loan."
"There seems to be a problem with the appraisal."
If you are Sexually Harassed...
It is a violation of the Fair Housing Act for a landlord or his/her agents to ask for or require sexual favors in exchange
for the rental of an apartment, lease renewal, repairs or any other condition or privilege or renting.
Sexual harassment can range from the landlord or agent (superintendent, maintenance worker, rental manager, etc)
making sexual comments to actually physically assault you.
The landlord may be direct & demand that you sleep with him to rent the apartment or get repairs made. He may
enter your apartment without permission and make sexually offensive comments to you or try to touch you.
You may hear lines like these:
Don't worry about the security deposit-we'll make ARRANGEMENTS."
"There's a long waiting list for these apartments, but I can get you in... If you're NICE to me."
I made special arrangements to do these repairs for you, and I'm sure you know how to 'THANK ME."
I helped you get into this apartment. If you don't go out with me, I can get your rent subsidy taken away."
"If you let me take pictures of you, you won't have to pay rent."
The landlord cannot retaliate against you because you say "NO" or because you report him. He may try to evict
you, refuse to do repairs, raise your rent, or threaten you because you refuse his sexual advances. These are
violations of the law, and you should REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY!
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
Housing discrimination is illegal. If you feel that you are being treated unfairly. Take the following steps.
Call the Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama listed on the Contact page of this site.
Keep a record of any meetings and phone calls with landlords, property managers, real estate agents, loan officers or
Write down what happened in detail.. Save all receipts, applications, business cards and other documents received
during your meetings.