The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits several types of discriminatory behavior if they are based solely on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability:
1. Refusing to sell to, rent to or otherwise deal with an interested tenant or buyer. This includes not returning calls or ignoring firm sales offers.
2. Applying different sale, rental, or occupancy terms for different people. This includes asking people of color to pay higher security deposits.
3. The refusal by real estate professionals or companies to serve minority customers, steering customers to certain neighborhoods or making claims about the racial makeup of an area. This includes a real estate agent who tells clients interested in a certain home that a minority family lives next door or companies that purposely place ads where they are not likely to be seen by minorities.
4. Lying about the availability of housing. This includes telling people of color, families or a disabled person that an apartment is already taken, when it is not.
5. Frightening people into renting or selling their property by manipulating their prejudices. Called blockbusting, this includes efforts to buy property at below fair market value by telling people that members of a minority group are moving into the area.
6. Discrimination in financing housing by a bank, savings and loan association, or other business. This includes charging creditworthy minority customers higher interest rates than other customers.
7. Harassment. Tenants and homeowners have the right not to be harassed or frightened into abandoning their leases or leaving their homes. This includes racial and sexual harassment, such as slurs and threats of violence and sexual advances and innuendos.
8. Local zoning laws that have an unfair effect on minorities and are discriminatory in nature. In some communities, laws that restrict the size or number of occupants in a home have been used to target Latins and Asian households who live with several generations under the same roof.
9. Attempts to threaten or intimidate people so that they will not exercise their rights or file complaints under the Fair Housing Act.
If you believe you have been the victim of housing discrimination and you have questions or would like help with filing a complaint or receive Fair Housing Counseling, don’t hesitate to contact the Fair Housing Program Manager, Lydia Gregg, at 386-274-4441, extension 304 or via email at Lgregg_mfhp@bellsouth.net or a Housing Intake Counselor or a Bi-Lingual Intake Coordinator (Monica Huber or Joanna Maldonado) at 386-274-4441, extension 303 or extension 301 or via email at Mhuber_mfhp@bellsouth.net or Maldonadoj_mfhp@bellsouth.net. It will be useful to download, print and complete the MFHP Fair Housing Intake Form to prepare for your fair housing counseling session.
If you believe you have been the victim of housing discrimination and would like to file a Fair Housing Complaint you may download the mail in form* (from FORMS area located on our website) and mail it to: Atlanta Regional Office of FHEO, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Five Points Plaza, 40 Marietta Street, 16th Floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-2806.
If you believe you have been the victim of housing discrimination and would like to complete the Housing Complaint form on line, visit HUD’s site: https://portalapps.hud.gov/FHEO903/Form903/Form903Start.action