Fighting Rental Housing Discrimination FAQ

What types of housing discrimination are renters protected from?

The federal Fair Housing Act and Fair Housing Amendments Act (42 U.S. Code ยงยง 3601-3619, 3631) prohibit landlords from choosing tenants on the basis of a group characteristic such as:

  • race
  • religion
  • ethnic background or national origin
  • sex
  • familial status, including having children or being pregnant (except in certain designated senior housing), or
  • a mental or physical disability.

In addition, some state and local laws prohibit discrimination based on a person's marital status, age, or sexual orientation.

Landlords can always select tenants using criteria that are based on valid business reasons, such as requiring a minimum income or positive references from previous landlords, as long as these standards are applied equally to all tenants.

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