Anyone who has ever looked for an apartment can tell you that, from the day you start your search until the day your lease expires, there’s a chance you might become victim of housing discrimination. If it’s already happened to you, you know how frustrating it can be. Not only is it emotionally damaging, but it could well cost you time, money, and countless other aggravations in resolving the issue and finding a new place to live.
In order to protect yourself against this unfortunate experience, it’s important to know your rights, how to spot discriminatory behavior, and how to deal with those who have discriminated against you.
Housing Discrimination and Federal Housing Law
Federal housing rights are laid out in the Fair Housing Act. Any “protected class” is safeguarded from unfair treatment. For example, if you feel you have been discriminated against because of your race, national origin, religion, or gender, you may well have federally-protected rights. Even “familial status” entitles you to protection from unfair treatment, so if you’ve been denied a lease because you have children, you may have been discriminated against.
Potential renters also need to be aware of subtle discrimination, known as “steering.” This occurs when the person showing you the potential residence discourages you from renting the place and encouraging you to look elsewhere, rather than flat-out refusing you a lease.
What Should I Do If I’m a Victim of Housing Discrimination?
If you’ve been discriminated against, your next step is to decide whether or not to pursue legal action against the landlord, broker, property manager, or other housing professional who committed the discriminatory act. You can file a claim with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) via phone, mail, or online. If you wish to take further steps, you may wish to consult your attorney who can help you pursue legal action against the property owner or agency directly.
Nobody likes moving, and discrimination only makes it worse. Be sure to know your rights before you begin apartment-hunting, and you can make sure you find a place where you can live comfortably for years to come.
Contact Morris Bart About Your Case
If you have experienced housing discrimination, please contact the personal injury attorneys at Morris Bart, LLC Attorneys at Law today. We offer a free case evaluation with our personal injury attorneys, who will review the details of your case and advise you on the best approach to getting the compensation you deserve.