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Thanks to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, discrimination is no longer allowed in the realm of housing. It is illegal to discriminate against race, color, national origin, sex, family status, or disability. You cannot refuse to sell or rent to any individual who is a member of one of those classes who makes a legitimate offer. Moreover, a landlord cannot even charge a higher security deposit or change the terms of a lease based on one’s family status, i.e. the existence of children. It also illegal to ask for higher application fees based on race. It is also against the Fair Housing Act to lie to minorities and say there are no units for sale or rent if it’s untrue. Nor is it permissible for a real estate agent to steer a white person or family into a white neighborhood or a black person or family into a black neighborhood.

Likewise, under the Fair Housing Act, a landlord must make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

If you feel you have suffered from discrimination based on race, sex, religion, family status, or national origin, you can file a lawsuit, in which case you must prove that the housing was available, you applied for it, you were rejected, and the house stayed on the market after you were rejected. If you can show that, a burden is then pushed upon the owner of the house to show a legitimate reason for denying you the house that is not based on your protected class.

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