Housing Discrimination Against Those With Special Needs
Despite being illegal and a violation of their rights under the Fair Housing Act, individuals with special needs, including those with disabilities, still face barriers to accessing equal housing opportunities. It is crucial to understand the laws that protect their interests.
The Fair Housing Act, which was enacted in 1968, is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. The law applies to all aspects of housing, including rental, sales, financing, and insurance.
Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords and real estate agents may not discriminate against individuals with special needs, including denying housing or setting different terms, conditions, or privileges based on their special needs. Housing providers must make reasonable accommodations to allow individuals with special needs equal access to housing. This includes modifying a unit to accommodate a wheelchair, providing reserved parking, or allowing a service animal, and these accommodations must be provided at no cost to the individual with special needs.
Individuals with special needs also have the right to make changes to a unit to accommodate their needs, such as installing grab bars or lowering light switches. This is known as “reasonable modifications,” and the housing provider must allow these modifications, with the individual with special needs responsible for paying for them.
If you believe you have been a victim of housing discrimination based on your special needs, you can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or seek legal assistance.
In conclusion, the Fair Housing Act provides important protections for individuals with special needs, including those with disabilities. However, discrimination still occurs, and it’s crucial to understand your rights and take action if you believe you have been a victim of housing discrimination.