Understand the purpose of the Federal Fair Housing Laws and be able to
identify the protected classes covered by the Fair Housing Act.
Federal Fair Housing Act (FFHA)
The Fair Housing Act, as amended in 1988, prohibits housing discrimination on
the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and
national origin. Its coverage includes private housing, housing that receives
Federal financial assistance, and State and local government housing. It is
unlawful to discriminate in any aspect of selling or renting housing or to deny
a dwelling to a buyer or renter because of the disability of that individual, an
individual associated with the buyer or renter, or an individual who intends to
live in the residence. Other covered activities include, for example, financing,
zoning practices, new construction design, and advertising.
The Fair Housing Act requires owners of housing facilities to make reasonable
exceptions in their policies and operations to afford people with disabilities
equal housing opportunities. For example, a landlord with a "no pets"
policy may be required to grant an exception to this rule and allow an
individual who is blind to keep a guide dog in the residence. The Fair Housing
Act also requires landlords to allow tenants with disabilities to make
reasonable access-related modifications to their private living space, as well
as to common use spaces. (The landlord is not required to pay for the changes.)
The Act further requires that new multifamily housing with four or more units be
designed and built to allow access for persons with disabilities. This includes
accessible common use areas, doors that are wide enough for wheelchairs,
kitchens and bathrooms that allow a person using a wheelchair to maneuver, and
other adaptable features within the units.