Fair Housing Act: What You Need To Know As A Tenant

You saw a property that you love. You’ve got to have it. What next? What can you expect when you pursue a place to live? What can you expect if you have a special need?



The Fair Housing Act is federal legislation designed to eliminate discrimination in housing. This applies to every part of the housing industry, including rental and property management. What it means is that no landlord or company can deny anyone housing based on their race, religion, color, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability status. If you believe that anyone has hindered, denied, or try to influence your decision on where to live, or infringed on your rights to fair housing, you can make a complaint. (For more information, go here.)



In order to ensure that you are not discriminated against when seeking housing, no one may ask you for information regarding your race, religion, national origin, sex, familial status or disability status (an exception is a 55+ or 62+ community). No one may inquire into your family planning or the type or severity of a disability. Further, if you have a disability, a landlord must permit a tenant with a disability to make reasonable modifications to the property and/or have a reasonable accommodation or modification to a policy.


What this means for you: If you are a tenant with a disability, your landlord must permit you to make or have a reasonable modification. For example, you can make a change to the property, such as installing grab bars in the bathrooms; or you will be permitted a service animal in an otherwise “no-pet” property without paying a pet deposit. In some cases, in which the landlord receives federal funding, the landlord will pay for these modifications.



If you request modifications, you will likely be asked to provide proof that your modification or accommodation is necessary in order to provide “equal opportunity to use and enjoy place of residence,” as well as show the relationship between the disability and the accomodation. However, you may be responsible for the costs of such modifications and the cost to restore the property to its original condition. Furthermore, when it comes to having a service animal, you are still subject to the lease you signed, liable for any damage caused by the animal, as well as being expected to abide by any leash laws or ordinances concerning pet waste.



We are thrilled that you are interested in living in one of the properties we manage (see our available rentals here). We will treat you with respect and ensure that your rights are protected. We process applications on a first come, first served basis. Approval is based on creditworthiness, employment status and income verification, clean rental and background history. It’s that simple. We want  you to feel cared for…that’s our goal.


For more information on our rental requirements, go here.


Information for this article and more information and resources, you can go to www.fairhousingforum.org and www.idaholegalaid.org


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