Unfortunately, discrimination still occurs today, including in the housing market. However, there are federal protections put into place to help prevent discrimination when renting or buying a home, as well as other housing related activities. A main source of this protection comes from the Fair Housing Act.
The Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination when renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance or when engaging in other housing-related activities. based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disabilities.
Exceptions to the Fair Housing Act
While the Housing Discrimination Act aims to prevent discrimination, there are some exemptions that are built into the act. The anti-discrimination provisions of the Fair Housing Act do not typically apply to two types of property:
- rooms or units in dwellings that containing living quarters that are occupied by no more than four families living independently of each other if the owner occupies one of these living quarters as his residence, or
- Any single-family house sold or rented by an owner if he does not own more than three houses and does not use a real estate broker or agent in the sale or rental.
What Discrimination Can Look Like
Discrimination can look like sellers, landlords, and bankers blatantly refusing to sell or rent or provide a mortgage to members of protected groups due to their race, color, religion, sex, etc., but this typically does not occur. More often, they may try and discrimination in more subtle ways. This may look like refusing to show applicants in certain areas to promote segregation, telling applicants that they are not a good fit for the area, or that they may not feel comfortable in this specific area. This type of language is not always discriminatory, but it is something to look out for.
In order to establish discriminatory intent under the Fair Housing Act, one must prove that there is disparate treatment or a disparate impact. A disparate treatment is when a member of a protected class qualified and applied for housing, was rejected, and the property remained open. Disparate impact is statistical evidence that the conduct has a disparate impact on a group of people in a protected class. If you believe that you have been discriminated against it is important to document the discrimination as thoroughly as possible.
Proving discrimination can be difficult; if you are a member of a protected class and believe that you have been discriminated against, or any other legal issue, contact King Law at 888-748-KING for a consultation. We have offices located across western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. King Law is here to help.