Fair Housing Month ends this weekend. This month-long campaign to raise awareness of Fair Housing laws is an important one, which includes measures taken by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help house hunters and apartment seekers alike to get fair consideration when applying to find or buy a home. Those measures in 2017 include a trying to raise awareness of certain persistent types of discrimination.
According to the HUD official site, one version is particularly troublesome. “Every type of discrimination robs individuals and families of their right to choose where to live, but one form of discrimination HUD is particularly active in addressing is discrimination against families with children, known as familial status discrimination.”
HUD states that every year, more than ten percent of all Fair Housing complaints are related to familial discrimination. “State and local fair housing groups that partner with HUD in fighting discrimination also describe familial status discrimination as being one of their priority areas, as anecdotal evidence shows that it is often a proxy for race discrimination. In addition to the loss of housing, this type of discrimination has a destabilizing effect that prevents families from positioning themselves in ways that enable the next generation to take advantage of all this country has to offer.”
Some don’t realize that violations of Fair Housing Act rules include discriminating against applicants with children, with “too many” children, or against couples who live together without being legally married, et cetera. Discrimination (familial or otherwise) in housing does not affect only those looking to rent; home loan applicants are also vulnerable to various types of Fair Housing Act violations where they occur.
This affects people at all stages of home ownership. Some are illegally denied a look at homes for sale, others may be victims of “redlining” where different or more rigorous standards are held for certain people than for others who are similarly financially qualified.
Regardless of whether you are a future home owner or plan to rent indefinitely, Fair Housing violations negatively affect your ability to find and keep housing. Often, those who are the victims are the only ones with the power to stop it-by reporting it to the authorities who might never learn of the problems otherwise.
Fair Housing Month may be ending, but Fair Housing Act protections are enforced year round; the violations must be reported in order for HUD to investigate them. If you have encountered any form of housing discrimination, file a complaint with the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at their toll free phone number, (800) 669-9777. Submit complaints online www.hud.gov/fairhousing.