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Discrimination in Housing

According to the Civil Rights Act of 1968, Housing discrimination is the “refusal to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of his race, color, religion or national origin.”  The disabled and families with children were added to this list later on.  This housing discrimination law is also known as the Fair Housing Act.  Housing discrimination means discrimination in the realm of housing and real estate, based on protected class status, variously including race, gender, ethnicity, age, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity, marital status, or veteran status.  There are four distinct areas in which housing discrimination can take place: i) rental discrimination, ii) sales discrimination, iii) lending and mortgage discrimination, and iv) homeowners insurance.

The primary goal of the Fair Housing Act is a housing market, in which a person’s background is not a reason for restricting access.  The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is responsible for overseeing this.  HUD’s mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination.

Inside Discrimination in Housing