The federal Fair Housing Act, enacted on April 11, 1968, provides the basis for fair housing laws in the United States. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability. For example, it means that a housing professional, such as a landlord or realtor, cannot refuse to rent to a person simply because that person is African American or uses a wheelchair.
Under the Fair Housing Act, it is against the law for a housing professional to:
- Refuse to rent or sell housing
- Refuse to negotiate for the rental or sale of housing
- Make housing unavailable or deny that housing is available
- Set different terms, conditions or privileges for the sale or rental of housing
- Advertise in a discriminatory way
- Threaten, coerce or intimidate anyone exercising fair housing rights
The types of housing covered under the Fair Housing Act include apartments, private housing, public housing, condominiums, homeless shelters, mobile home parks, nursing homes and nonprofit housing programs.