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Fair Housing

Some landlords refuse to rent to Trump supporters, others to Mexicans, others to single moms – which of these is legal?

Landlords violate Fair Housing laws from time to time, sometimes knowingly, other times unaware of their illegal acts. But sometimes discrimination is totally legal. Let’s discuss.

Just recently, a Colorado landlord posted a notice that he would refuse to rent to someone who supported Donald Trump. Strangely, this practice is legal. The Fair Housing Act does not have provisions for political views. However, according to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, landlords cannot take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap:

  • Refuse to rent or sell housing
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Deny a dwelling
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Provide different housing services or facilities

Protecting consumers in California

The agency responsible for violations is HUD. Tenants can file complaints with HUD, but many times, minorities and immigrants aren’t even aware that discrimination has occurred. This is the situation in Santa Clara, California. An apartment complex allegedly refused to accept Mexican forms of identification, such as a passport, while they encouraged an individual with a Canadian passport to apply for a rental. Mexican families had no way of knowing that they were being discriminated against.

Project Sentinel, which is a fair housing non-profit organization discovered the discrepancy and reported it to HUD. After six months of investigations and negotiations, a settlement was reached. The apartment complex, DBA Income Property Specialists, and the owners and managers came to an agreement whereby they would give Project Sentinel a monetary settlement and go through training to ensure they would not be discriminating in the future. It was a rather costly error in judgment for Income Property Specialists.

A Texas agency dealing with Fair Housing

In Texas, the Texas Workforce Commission is the state agency responsible for monitoring rental properties.

TWC offers training for management companies and developers who are required to have the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs fair housing training. In addition, there are many resources available through the website to ensure your rentals are operating under the Fair Housing Act.


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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.


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