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Exemptions to the Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act applies to most housing. There are a few exemptions to the Fair Housing Act:

  • A dwelling with four or fewer units, if the owner lives in one of the units – however, it is important to note that these dwellings are not exempt from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act unless they contain only two units, with one being owner occupied.
  • Single family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, if the private individual owner does not own more than three such single-family homes at one time. Please note that the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act does not contain this exemption so these dwellings are not exempt in the state of Pennsylvania.

In addition, religious organizations and private clubs can give preference to members if they don’t discriminate in their membership.

A community qualifies as housing for older persons and is exempt from the prohibition against familial status discrimination if: 1) HUD has determined that it is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a federal, state or local government program; 2) it is 100% occupied by persons 62 or older; or 3) it houses at least one person 55 or older in at least 80% of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates an intent to house persons 55 or older.

There are no exemptions to the advertising provision of the Fair Housing Act which stipulates that you cannot make, print or publish a discriminatory statement. And no one is exempt from the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibits all racial discrimination in the sale or rental of property.If you live in Philadelphia, Southeast Pennsylvania or the Lehigh Valley and have questions on exemptions or other fair housing topics, contact, 866-540-FAIR or contact us.

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