What Does the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 Provide?
The Fair Housing Act declares that it is national policy to provide fair housing throughout the United States and prohibits seven specific kinds of discriminatory acts regarding housing if the discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.
- Refusal to sell or rent or otherwise deal with a person.
- Discriminating in the conditions or terms of sale, rental, or occupancy.
- Falsely denying housing is available.
- “Blockbusting” – causing person(s) to sell or rent by telling them that members of a minority group are moving into the area.
- Discrimination in financing housing by a bank, savings and loan association, or other business.
- Denial of membership or participation in brokerage, multiple listing, or other real estate services.
- Interference, coercion, threats or intimidation to keep a person from obtaining the full benefits of the Federal Fair Housing Law and/or filing a complaint.
What Does the Law Exempt?
The first three acts listed above do not apply to any single family house where the owner in certain circumstances does not seek to rent or sell it through the use of a broker or through discriminatory advertising, nor to units in houses for two-to-four families if the owner lives in one of the units.
What Can You Do About Violations of the Law?
Remember, the Fair Housing Act applies to discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. If you believe you have been or are about to be, discriminated against or otherwise harmed by the kinds of discriminatory acts which are prohibited by law, you have a right, within 1 year after the discrimination occurred to:
- Complain to the Secretary of HUD by filing this form by mail or in person. HUD will investigate. If it finds the complaint is covered by the law and is justified, it will try to end the discrimination by conciliation. If conciliation fails, other steps will be taken to enforce the law. In cases where State or local laws give the same rights as the Federal Fair Housing Law, HUD must first ask the State or local agency to try to resolve the problem.
- Go directly to Court even if you have not filed a complaint with the Secretary. The Court may sometimes be able to give quicker, more effective, relief than conciliation can provide and may also, in certain cases, appoint an attorney for you (without cost).
You Should Also Report All Information about violations of the Fair Housing Act to HUD even though you don’t intend to complain or go to court yourself.
Additional Details. If you wish to explain in detail in an attachment what happened, you should consider the following:
- If you feel that others were treated differently from you, please explain the facts and circumstances.
- If there were witnesses or others who know what happened give their names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
- If you have made this complaint to other government agencies or to the courts, state when and where and explain what happened.
White (Non-Hispanic)—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East.
Black (Non-Hispanic)—A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
Hispanic—A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish Culture or origin, regardless of race.
American Indian or Alaskan Native—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America, and who maintains,cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.
Asian or Pacific Islander—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands. This area includes, for example, China, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands, and Samoa.
Housing Discrimination Complaint Form
You can obtain assistance in learning about the Fair Housing Act or in filing a complaint at the HUD Regional Office.
New York/New Jersey Office (Stanley_Seidenfeld@hud.gov)
Fair Housing Enforcement Center
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
26 Federal Plaza, Room 3532
New York, NY 10278-0068
Telephone 212-264-1290 or 1-800-496-4294
Fax 212-264-9829 • TIY 212-264-0927
Below, please download and complete the Housing Discrimination form. Mail or fax completed form to the HUD Regional Office listed above.