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Fair Housing: Federal Laws

Fair Housing Laws Overview

Fair housing laws are intended to protect an individual's right to rent, sell, or own housing without the threat of unlawful discrimination. The purpose of these laws is to provide equal opportunities in housing to all. Below is a list of federal laws that prohibit a number of types of housing discrimination, and links to the full texts of those laws. (Note: Many states have civil rights laws of their own which mirror those at the federal level, so your state may have its own fair housing / housing discrimination laws that are very similar to those identified below.)

Fair Housing Act

Under the Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability).

List of Federal Laws

Presidential Executive Orders Related to Fair Housing

There have been several Executive Orders throughout the years relating to Fair Housing. Executive Orders are one way for a one way a U.S. president to make changes to the nation's policies. Let's take a look at a few:

  • Executive Order 11063 Executive Order 11063 prohibits discrimination in the sale, leasing, rental, or other disposition of properties and facilities owned or operated by the federal government or provided with federal funds.
  • Executive Order 11246 Executive Order 11246, as amended, bars discrimination in federal employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • Executive Order 12892 Executive Order 12892, as amended, requires federal agencies to affirmatively further fair housing in their programs and activities, and provides that the Secretary of HUD will be responsible for coordinating the effort. The Order also establishes the President's Fair Housing Council, which will be chaired by the Secretary of HUD.
  • Executive Order 12898 Executive Order 12898 requires that each federal agency conduct its program, policies, and activities that substantially affect human health or the environment in a manner that does not exclude persons based on race, color, or national origin.
  • Executive Order 13166 Executive Order 13166 eliminates, to the extent possible, limited English proficiency as a barrier to full and meaningful participation by beneficiaries in all federally-assisted and federally conducted programs and activities.
  • Executive Order 13217 Executive Order 13217 requires federal agencies to evaluate their policies and programs to determine if any can be revised or modified to improve the availability of community-based living arrangements for persons with disabilities.

Talk to an Attorney about Your Discrimination Claim

Have you experienced any of the following scenarios: being steered to purchase a home in a certain neighborhood, being denied a rental unit because you have a seeing-eye dog, being evicted because you have a mental disability? If you have faced similar situations, then you might want to consider filing a discrimination claim. Talk to an experienced attorney today about your options.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified civil rights attorney
to help you protect your rights.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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