Fair Housing Act — Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act, as amended in 1988, prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin. The Oregon Fair Housing Act also prohibits discrimination based on marital status, source of income, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, one’s status as a victim of domestic violence and source of income, including Section 8 vouchers.

The Fair Housing Act covers private housing, housing that receives Federal financial assistance, and State and local government housing.  A common area of misunderstanding of the Fair Housing Act related to its disability discrimination coverage. It is unlawful to discriminate in any aspect of selling or renting housing or to deny a dwelling to a buyer or renter because of the disability of that individual, of an individual associated with the buyer or renter, or of an individual who intends to live in the residence. Other covered activities includes discriminatory financing, zoning practices, construction, design, and advertising.

The Fair Housing Act requires owners of housing facilities to make reasonable exceptions in their policies and operations to afford people with disabilities equal housing opportunities. For example, a landlord with a “no pets” policy may be required to grant an exception to this rule and allow an individual to keep a service animal or emotional support animal in the residence, The Fair Housing Act also requires landlords to allow tenants with disabilities to make reasonable access-related modifications to their private living space, as well as to common use spaces. (The landlord is not required to pay for the changes if the unit is otherwise accessible.) The Act further requires that new multifamily housing with four or more units be designed and built to allow access for persons with disabilities. This includes accessible common use areas, doors that are wide enough for wheelchairs, kitchens and bathrooms that allow a person using a wheelchair to maneuver, and other adaptable features within the units.