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Fair Housing and Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968), 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of homes and in other housing-related transactions (such as advertising, homeowner’s insurance, and zoning). Owner-occupied buildings with no more than 4 units and single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker may be exempted from the FHA in certain circumstances.

Protected Classes

The FHA prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status. Protected familial status includes having or securing custody of children under the age of 18 and being pregnant. Exemptions from familial status protection exist for certain housing for older persons.

Prohibited Practices

The FHA prohibits taking any of the following actions on the basis of protected characteristics:

  • Refusing to rent or sell housing;

  • Making housing unavailable;

  • Providing different housing services or facilities;

  • Setting different terms for sale or rental of a dwelling;

  • Falsely denying that housing is available;

  • Refusing to make a mortgage loan or imposing different terms or conditions on a loan;

  • Refusing to make a mortgage loan or imposing different terms or conditions on a loan;

  • Refusing to allow a disabled tenant to make reasonable modifications to the dwelling or common-use areas at his own expense;

  • Advertising or making any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on protected characteristics, and more.


Available relief includes actual damages, injunctive and other equitable relief.

Proof of Discrimination

To establish proof of discrimination under the FHA, the plaintiff needs only to show a disparate racial impact, not racial intent or purpose. Tex. Dep’t of Hous. & Cmty. Affairs v. Inclusive Cmtys. Project, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 2507 (2015).

Dealing with a fair housing claim can be a difficult and drawn-out process. It is important to retain experienced and professional attorneys in order to maximize the effectiveness of your claim. Please call Aziz Legal by phone (408) 203-4627 or email us at

This article is merely informational and is not intended to be used as legal advice. Use of any information from this article is for general information only and does not represent personal legal or tax advice, either express or implied. Readers are encouraged to consult Aziz Legal, or another attorney, for any specific legal matters.

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