Fair Housing Basics

Consumers should educate themselves on the protections the Fair Housing Act affords buyers and renters so that they can protect their rights.

 

Protected Classes and Illegal Discrimination

Both the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Louisiana Equal Housing Opportunity Act make it illegal to deny a person housing solely on the basis of:

  • Color
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women and people securing custody of children under 18)

These seven groups are often referred to as the protected classes under the Fair Housing Act.  Here are some examples of illegal discrimination, if such action occurred solely based on the person being a member of one of the protected classes:

  • Refuse to make a mortgage loan or rent a home
  • Refuse to provide information regarding loans
  • Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees
  • Discriminate in appraising property
  • Falsely deny that housing is available
  • Direct an applicant to a specific neighborhood (steering)
  • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations or allow reasonable modifications for persons with disabilities

Categories Not Protected

The Fair Housing Act does not prohibit the denial of housing on the basis of credit worthiness, previous rental history, or criminal record.  Furthermore, the Fair Housing Act does not protect persons who present a direct threat to the persons or property of others.  Developments that put policies such as these into place must make sure that they are consistently applied to everyone attempting to lease or purchase the same or a comparable home.