Everybody who applies for housing has the right to enjoy equal treatment. As a result, the development of the Fair Housing Act occurred with the aim of advising lenders, landlords, renters, and buyers of the housing practices that could be deemed discrimination.
If you’re a Houston resident and are concerned about housing discrimination, you can access the following resources.
Housing and Community Development Department
The Fair Housing Office helps residents of the Houston Metropolitan area who think they’ve experienced discrimination in an apartment rental or the purchase of a property based on color, race, national origin, disability or family status.
Greater Housing Fair Housing Center
The resource is committed to eliminating housing discrimination and expanding housing opportunities to all persons. Since 1999, the GHFC has provided services to the metropolitan area in Houston.
It provides training presentations as well as educational materials to those who’re interested in knowing more about the Fair Housing, which comprises jurisdictions, non-profit agencies, and management companies.
Houston Apartment Association
HAA is the principal resource for quality rental providers in Houston and the adjacent area.
Fair Housing Act
The Act protects you against discrimination when you’re buying, renting, or securing funding for any housing. The development of this law took place to end discriminatory practices in housing-related activities.
Its development took place with the conviction that everybody has the right to a rental, buy a home, or obtain a mortgage without fearing discrimination because of their membership in some class of people.
It protects these seven classes: disability, color, race, national origin, religion, and familial status. The HUD or Department of Housing and Urban Development helps enforce the Fair Housing Act by enforcing the Act in these ways:
Investigating Discrimination Claims
People who feel there’s been a violation of their housing rights under the Fair Housing Act can file a claim with HUD. In turn, the HUD will investigate the claim, establish if there’s any merit and whether an additional legal action is essential.
Fair Housing Testers
HUD hires people to pose as home buyers or tenants to establish if discriminatory practices are taking place. Landlords have to be careful in what they say over the phone, in person, and in rental advertisements.
What Fair Housing Involves
During the rental and sale of housing, nobody should discriminate based on the seven protected classes by the Act. It’s important to note that:
- It’s unlawful for anybody to coerce, threaten, or intimidate anybody exercising a right to fair housing or helping others exercise that right
- It’s unlawful to advertise or make a statement that reveals a preference or limitation based on the protected classes. The prohibition applies to owner-occupied units and single-family units.
Prerequisites for New Buildings
In buildings that are ready for occupancy and comprise an elevator and four units or more should:
- Have common and public areas that are accessible to people with disabilities
- Hallways and doors should be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs.
All units should:
- Comprise an accessible route through and into the unit
- Accessible electrical outlets, lights, switches, and thermostats
- Comprise bathrooms and kitchens that persons in wheelchairs can use
If you’re a Houstonian you don’t have to lack access to fair housing. Instead, you can access these resources if you’re thinking of filing a complaint.
For more information on fair housing in Houston, contact us at Apartment Agents or leave a message.