The Fair Housing Act ("FHA") was adopted in 1968 and later amended to add additional protected classes. The original 1968 law was designed to prevent discrimination based on: race, color, religion, and national origin. In 1974, the FHA was amended to prevent discrimination based on sex. In 1988, the FHA was again amended to add handicap (disability) and familial status as protected classes.
In addition to federal law, some state laws and local ordinances provide additional protections based on categories including: source of income, marital status, sexual orientation, occupation, age, and criminal history.
The FHA covers most housing. In some circumstances, the FHA exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.
The FHA protects:
- and prospective applicants.
Those are easy. The FHA, however, also protects:
- the guests of your residents,
- fair housing testers,
- and management company employees.
Under the law, it is illegal to retaliate against an employee who helped a resident, applicant or prospective applicant to exercise his or her rights under the FHA.
Indeed, from my experience, HUD remains very concerned when they believe any type of retaliation has taken place. If such an allegation comes up, do your best to confront it first. If you do not and a complaint gets filed, I will have to deal with it later.
Just A Thought.