We report on these issues here in addition to our usual FHA home loan topics because all borrowers, house hunters, and apartment seekers are protected from being denied housing on a discriminatory basis, but many don’t know or fully understand their rights under federal Fair Housing Act laws.
And, as HUD explains, the availability of housing is an important factor in areas far beyond the immediate need of shelter and security.
According to a press release at the HUD official site, “This year marks the 49th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, landmark legislation that became law on April 11, 1968…This years theme is Fair Housing Equals Opportunity, highlighting equality in housing as a foundation upon which aspirations can be achieved and affirming the Fair Housing Acts ongoing role in confronting housing discrimination.”
Equal access to housing is a fundamental promise of America, according to HUD Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Bryan Greene, who is quoted in the HUD press release. He adds, When access to housing is unfairly limited, it, in turn, limits access to good paying jobs, quality schools, and economic opportunity.
In 2016, the agency reports approximately eight thousand discrimination complaints were filed with HUD and its’ partner agencies. These complaints included allegations of, “discrimination based on one or more of the Fair Housing Acts seven protected classes: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.”
HUD uses a variety of “enforcement tools” to, according to the official site, “expand access to housing choice for families of all sizes, as well as individuals. HUD pursues both Secretary-initiated and consumer-driven complaint enforcement actions to make a wider impact.”
Borrowers who feel they have had their housing rights violated should file a complaint as soon as possible, by contacting the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at their toll-free number: (800) 669-9777.