Housing Discrimination

Fair Housing Act of 1968
Under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (Title VIII), 42USC Section 3601, et seq.) it is illegal for housing providers to discriminate in housing based on the race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability (includes HIV/AIDS), or familial status (families with children) of the renter or purchaser.

Virginia Fair Housing Law
The Virginia Fair Housing Law (Va. Code Sec 36-96) also includes “elderliness” as an additional protected class.

If You Have Experienced Discrimination
If you believe you have been discriminated against based on one or more of the above factors, you may file a complaint with:

  • HUD at 800-669-9777
  • Legal Services of Northern Virginia at 703-778-6800
  • Virginia State Real Estate Board at 804- 367-8530
  • Your local Human Rights Commission
Examples of Discrimination
Examples of discrimination may include:
  • Refusal to rent, sell or negotiate for the sale or rental of housing
  • Offering different terms and conditions on a lease or mortgage
  • Indicating that a house or apartment is unavailable when it is available
  • Persuading a certain class of people to move to certain areas
  • Refusal to make reasonable accommodations or modifications to a house or apartment when requested by a disabled person

Reasonable Accommodation
Examples of reasonable accommodations or modifications for disabled tenants include:

  • Allowing a service animal on the premises regardless of the pet policy
  • Lowering light switches, sinks, toilets
  • Installing shower grab bars
  • Providing handicapped parking spaces closer to the apartment entrance

The landlord is responsible for the costs of some accommodations and the tenant is responsible for others. The costs and who is responsible for them should be agreed upon before the accommodations are made.