The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In some circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.
In addition to the Sale, Rental and Financing guidelines provided below, the Fair Housing Act provides specific guidelines for:
In the Sale and Rental of Housing: No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap:
Refuse to rent or sell housing
Refuse to negotiate for housing
Make housing unavailable
Deny a dwelling
Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
Provide different housing services or facilities
Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting) or
Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.
In Mortgage Lending: No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap (disability):
Refuse to make a mortgage loan
Refuse to provide information regarding loans
Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees
Discriminate in appraising property
Refuse to purchase a loan or
Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan.
In Addition: It is illegal for anyone to:
Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right
However, housing need not be made available to a person who is a direct threat to the health or safety of others or who currently uses illegal drugs.
The Act also covers housing opportunities for families. Unless a building or community qualifies as housing for older persons, it may not discriminate based on familial status. That is, it may not discriminate against families in which one or more children under 18 live with:
A person who has legal custody of the child or children or
The designee of the parent or legal custodian, with the parent or custodian's written permission.
Familial status protection also applies to pregnant women and anyone securing legal custody of a child under 18. Exemption: Housing for older persons is exempt from the prohibition against familial status discrimination if:
The HUD Secretary has determined that it is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government program or
It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older or
It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates an intent to house persons who are 55 or older.
A transition period permits residents on or before September 13, 1988, to continue living in the housing, regardless of their age, without interfering with the exemption.