What is the Fair Housing Act? In the state of Florida, individuals are legally entitled to rent or purchase a home without being discriminated against based on their race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status, or religion. This means that it is unlawful for real estate agents, brokers, landlords, or anyone involved in the housing business to refuse to house, make false claims about the availability of housing, or impose different conditions or terms on a loan, based on any of these factors. Furthermore, individuals cannot be threatened, coerced, or intimidated when exercising their fair housing rights.
Understanding the Florida Fair Housing Act: Your Guide to Equal Opportunity in the Housing Market
It is also important to note that unless a housing community is specifically designated as a 55+ community, families with children under the age of 18 cannot be denied residency based on familial status.
Act immediately if you think you’ve been the victim of housing discrimination. You can contact the Florida Commission on Human Relations within one year of the alleged act of discrimination, either by phone, mail or in person. The Commission’s experienced staff members will listen to your situation, offer advice, and assist you in filing an inquiry with the Commission’s Housing Unit. You can use the Housing Discrimination Questionnaire to help you in this process.
Chapter 760 – Florida Statutes
The Florida Commission on Human Relations works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and most cases are filed with both agencies. The Commission will investigate any inquiries related to housing discrimination under the Florida Fair Housing Act, Chapter 760.
Remember, as a resident of Florida, you have the right to live in a home or apartment without being discriminated against based on your personal characteristics. Don’t be afraid to seek help from the Florida Commission on Human Relations if you think that your rights have been violated.
The Florida Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal law that aims to provide equal opportunities for every American in the housing market by prohibiting discrimination based on protected classes such as race, color, national origin, religion, disability, sex, and familial status. Landlords and property providers must comply with the FHA to avoid costly discrimination lawsuits that could lead them to federal court.
The History and Importance of the Fair Housing Act in Florida
The FHA was enacted in 1968, following a series of events, including the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, the Rumford FHA in 1963, and the Civil Rights Act in 1964. The establishment of the FHA came after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The law applies to a range of activities related to housing, including renting, buying, and mortgage loans.
Protected classes under the FHA include not only pregnant women and those with children under the age of 18 but also people with disabilities. In 2017, a federal judge ruling made it clear that sexual orientation and gender identity are also protected classes under the FHA.
The FHA aims to counter housing discrimination, which can take various forms, such as discriminatory statements in property ads, refusal to disclose information about mortgage loans, setting disparate terms and conditions on a mortgage, and refusal to rent, sell, or negotiate for housing, among others.
While the FHA applies to most housing providers and landlords, some exemptions exist, such as single-family homes rented or sold without using a broker, owner-occupied homes with less than four units for rent, and private clubs or organizations with a members-only policy.
Consequences of Violating the Florida Fair Housing Act: Understanding the Penalties
Violating the FHA can lead to penalties, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) holds responsibility for enforcing the law. Anyone who feels their rights have been violated can file a claim with the HUD or file a lawsuit in a federal district court.
To avoid discrimination, landlords should remain cautious about what they say on the phone and in person, analyze their rental ads before publishing them, have the same standards for all prospective tenants, treat everyone with respect, check for state and local laws for further protected classes, remain consistent in the process of tenant screening, and recognize any biases they might have against their tenants.
In conclusion, the FHA is a crucial federal law that provides equal opportunities for every American in the housing market. Landlords and housing providers must comply with the law to avoid costly lawsuits and penalties. HUD enforces the FHA by investigating all discrimination claims and hiring people to pose as buyers and tenants. Landlords must remain vigilant at all times to avoid discrimination charges or sexual harassment charges.