Recognizing Housing Discrimination

Actions That Are Considered Discriminatory

Housing discrimination can take many forms, including these examples:

  • Steering - If you are African American being directed to neighborhoods with only African Americans, or if you are Latino to neighborhoods with only Latinos etc.
  • Different prices for different people - For example, the price told to a family with children, or someone who is Asian, or someone with a disability, is different than the price told to a family without those characteristics.
  • Different terms and conditions for different people - For example, Latino buyers are required to bring a mortgage pre-approved letter before looking at properties, but non-Latino buyers are shown properties without being pre-approved.
  • Outright denial of housing or services - For example "I can’t sell you this house because it has lead paint and you have children" or "I think you would be much more comfortable working with my colleague who is Asian".

Possible Housing Discrimination

Examples of behavior that may be housing discrimination include:

  • You call and get an appointment to look at a house, but when you get there, you are told that the house was just sold.
  • You are told that the apartment has been rented, but it is listed in the paper again.
  • You are told a higher selling price than what was advertised, or than what you heard others being told.
  • You are told that they cannot rent to families with children because the house has lead paint.
  • You are given terms of rental or sale which are different than those given to other persons.
  • You are directed to or away from certain neighborhoods based on race, national origin, religion, or disability.

Protected Class Member

If you are a member of a protected class, it is illegal as a general rule for someone to:

  • Advertise housing to preferred groups of people only
  • Conduct property appraisals in a discriminatory manner
  • Deny you property insurance
  • Harass, coerce, intimidate, or interfere with anyone exercising or assisting someone else with his/her fair housing rights
  • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations for persons with a disability if the accommodation may be necessary to afford such a person a reasonable and equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling
  • Refuse to provide you with information regarding mortgage loans, deny you a mortgage loan, or impose different terms or conditions on a mortgage loan
  • Refuse to rent to you or sell you housing
  • Set different terms, conditions, or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Show you apartments or homes only in certain neighborhoods
  • Tell you housing is unavailable when in fact it is available

This list covers most but not all of the discriminatory housing activities which are unlawful.