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Fair Housing Laws

Housing Covered by Fair Housing Laws

  • Single-Family homes owned by private persons when a real estate broker and/or discriminatory advertising is used to rent or sell the home.
  • Single-Family homes not owned by private persons (such as corporations or partnerships), even if a broker is not used to rent or sell the home.
  • Owner-occupied multi-family buildings when a real estate broker and/or discriminatory advertising is used to rent or sell the home.
  • Multi-family buildings with four or fewer units, the owner does not live in one of the units.
  • Multi-family buildings with five or more units, including rooming houses.

Avoid Breaking Fair Housing Laws

  • Be consistent: Use standard process with all applicants.
  • Avoid assumptions: Assess individuals based on the requirements you develop and not based on anything else.
  • Document your search: Keep selection criteria and rental policy in writing and document your reason for refusing an applicant.
  • Don’t be helpful at your own expense: Allow each person to decide for themselves where they want to live (e.g., Don’t tell a tenant with kids that it would be safer on the first floor or ask a disabled person if they can manage the stairs.)
  • Fair Housing is ongoing: Fair housing does not end when you find a tenant, make sure all rental policies and services are applied equally to all tenants.