The federal law known as the Fair Housing Act protects consumers at all levels of the housing process. Buyers, renters, house hunters, all are protected against illegal discrimination thanks to the provisions of the Fair Housing Act that require only financial qualifications to be used when approving housing, providing accessibility for disabled tenants, etc.
But sometimes there are violations of these laws and when those violations are brought to the attention of the authorities, an investigation may lead to changes in the way housing issues are handled by a particular agency, landlord, etc.
The latest of these actions includes a Department of Housing and Urban Development’s announcement of an agreement in a Fair Housing Act case in Sacramento, California.
The Sacramento Housing And Redevelopment Agency (SHRA) was accused of Fair Housing Act violations related to a reasonable accommodation request; HUD received a complaint about the request and its refusal.
According to the HUD official site, there is now a “Conciliation/Voluntary Compliance Agreement involving the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA) and one of its tenants with disabilities, resolving allegations that SHRA staff violated the Fair Housing Act when they delayed installing additional grab bars in a unit in response to the tenant’s reasonable accommodation request”.
Fair Housing Act regulations establish that it is illegal for housing providers to deny such reasonable accommodation requests; the landlord cannot refuse a reasonable request to make a property more accessible to a disabled tenant. But that’s not the only kind of violation at work in this particular case.
The HUD press release reminds us that Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination “on the basis of disability by recipients of federal financial assistance, and requires that recipients of federal financial assistance bring their programs and activities into compliance with federal accessibility requirements” according to HUD.
“For persons with disabilities, a reasonable accommodation can allow them to fully enjoy the place they call home,” according to Anna María Farías the HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
She adds, “Today’s agreement represents HUD’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that housing providers meet their obligation to comply with the nation’s housing laws.”
Reporting violations of federal law in this area is the key to stopping the abuses; in many cases, the only people with the power to stop further discrimination from happening in the housing process are the victims of it.
HUD investigates Fair Housing Act violations but the agency must be made aware of the problem through complaints and reports of Fair Housing violations.
If you have experienced housing discrimination at any stage in the process-renting, applying for a home loan, etc. do not hesitate to file a complaint of discrimination.Contact the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 or visiting How to File a Complaint on HUD’s website. You can also call the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.