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Protecting Your Family Against Housing Discrimination
What is the Fair Housing Act?
The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in residential housing transactions such as sales, rentals, financing and advertising based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and handicap (physical or mental). Additionally, Palm Beach County prohibits discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation, age, marital status and gender identity and expression.
How are families protected under the Fair Housing Act?
The Fair Housing Act protects:
- Individuals living with children under the age of 18,
- Pregnant women, or
- Individuals securing custody of children under the age of 18.
A housing provider may not:
- Refuse to rent or sell to families with children.
- Steer families with children to specific areas of an apartment complex, condominium, or mobile home park. For example, a housing provider can't require families with children to live only in specific areas because of fear that the children will be noisy.
- Discourage families with children from renting an apartment or mobile home. The law does not allow housing providers to suggest that a family will be happier in another apartment complex or mobile home because there are more children that live in that area.
- Establish rules, conditions, or policies that treat families with children differently from other residents, tenants, or homeowners.
- Refuse to rent or sell to pregnant women.
- Place unreasonable restrictions on the number of individuals that may occupy a rental unit.
Are there any exemptions?
Under the Fair Housing Act, "housing for older persons" is exempted from the prohibitions on "familial status" discrimination. In order to qualify for this exemption, the housing must be occupied by individuals age 62 or older or the housing must have at least 80% of the units occupied by an individual at least 55 years of age.
Where to turn for help...
Report violations of the Fair Housing Act by contacting any of the following:
Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County's Fair Housing Unit
Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity
Department of Housing and Urban Development Fair Housing Complaint Hotline
1 (800) 669-9777
IMPORTANT: The information on this Website is not intended as legal advice or representation. No attorney-client relationship is created between the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc. and any person obtaining information from this website. Public benefits and other laws change frequently. We strive to keep this website up to date but cannot provide a guarantee that this information is accurate as of the time you are reading it.