Renting a Home

Fair Housing

What can a prospective tenant—one who tried to rent a home and was turned down—do against a landlord who discriminates illegally?

The fair housing laws provide for two remedies. A prospective tenant can file an administrative complaint with the agency enforcing the law or can sue the landlord in court.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is responsible for enforcing the federal fair housing laws. The complaint must be filed within one year of the date of the discriminatory conduct. States and many cities have human rights agencies that accept complaints. HUD has the authority to award monetary damages to the person discriminated against; the agency of the state or municipality may have similar authority. The prospective tenant may also file a lawsuit in federal court to enforce the Fair Housing Act or the Civil Rights Act. The person may file an administrative complaint with HUD and sue in court at the same time. The prospective tenant may file a lawsuit in the state court to enforce the state or local law.

>>Is a landlord allowed to discriminate in the selection of tenants?
>>What is fair housing?
>>What can a prospective tenant -- one who tried to rent a home and was turned down -- do against a landlord who discriminates illegally?
>>How can the prospective tenant prove that the landlord has illegally discriminated?
>>What are the possible outcomes for a prospective tenant who files a complaint or a lawsuit for discrimination?


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