Fair Housing Rights

State and Federal law prohibit discrimination against persons in the sale, rental or denial of any other privilege or benefit of housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, familial status or disability.  Ku & Mussman, P.A. is currently accepting matters involving housing discrimination.

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) 42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq., prohibits discrimination by direct providers of housing, such as landlords and real estate companies as well as other entities, such as municipalities, banks or other lending institutions and homeowners insurance companies whose discriminatory practices make housing unavailable to persons because of:

  • race or color
  • religion
  • sex
  • national origin
  • familial status, or
  • disability.

These cases may involve instances where housing providers try to disguise their discrimination by giving false information about availability of housing, either saying that nothing was available or steering home buyers or renters to certain other areas based on race, religion, sex, national origin, familial status or disability.  Individuals who receive such false information or misdirection may have no knowledge that they have been victims of discrimination.

In the context of housing discrimination based on disability, newly constructed multifamily housing must be built in accordance with the Fair Housing Act's accessibility requirements so that it is accessible to and usable by people with disabilities, and, in particular, those who use wheelchairs.  Additionally, even older multi-family housing must provide reasonable accommodations in policy and practice to ensure equal housing for the disabled.  This may include allowing the use of a service animal in buildings which do not normally allow dogs or providing/relocating an accessible parking space for a person with a disability.

Further, housing providers in older buildings must generally allow a person with a disability to pay for and undertake reasonable modifications to his or her unit or even to certain common areas of the building to accommodate his or her disability.  These modifications may include adding a ramp or lift at the entrance to a building, installing a roll-in shower or other specialty equipment in a disabled person’s apartment, widening doors, and many other items as deemed necessary on a case by case basis.