Frequently Asked Questions
What is housing discrimination?
Under the federal Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate in housing based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, family status, and disability. The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for any housing. The prohibitions specifically cover discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children. Here are a few examples:
- Realtors or rental agents guiding clients to or away from neighborhoods or areas based on race
- Insurance agents or banks refusing to insure or finance a home based on the racial makeup of a neighborhood
- Landlords or property managers not allowing a service animal (such as a guide dog) or wheelchair ramp in an apartment building
- Landlords or property managers saying “no children allowed”
- Building non-accessible apartments or refusing to provide “reasonable accommodations” for tenants with disabilities
- Demanding sexual favors in exchange for rental assistance
- Inflating the price of a home to discourage someone from making an offer
- Refusing to rent an apartment to a person with HIV/AIDS
- Selectively asking for a “green card” or other documentation based on an applicant’s accent or ethnic background
What type of housing is covered by fair housing laws?
Most housing, whether it is privately or publicly owned, is covered by fair housing laws, but there are a few exemptions. If you think you have been discriminated against, contact CAFHC and we can help evaluate whether the housing involved is covered by the federal fair housing law.
Is housing discrimination still a problem?
Yes it is. Housing discrimination happens throughout the country. A recent study published by the National Fair Housing Alliance indicated that there were over 28,000 reported complaints of housing discrimination. Since we opened our doors over twenty years ago, we’ve assisted hundreds of individuals and assisted with over a thousand fair housing complaints.
What can I do if I think I have been discriminated against?
If you feel you’ve been discriminated against, contact CAFHC. CAFHC assists individuals and organizations with allegations of illegal housing discrimination. Our intake specialist can assist you determine if you’ve encountered discriminatory housing practices. In some instance, CAFHC may be able to gather additional information by conducting a fair housing testing investigation. To report housing discrimination.
What is fair housing testing?
Fair housing “testing” is an investigative tool used by fair housing centers throughout the country. Fair housing testing is one of the most effective tools used to enforce fair housing laws. In some cases, evidence obtained through testing enables a victim of discrimination to meet the burden of proving that unlawful discrimination occurred. The process is similar to that used by “mystery shoppers” in the retail market. Fair housing centers train community members to pose as people seeking to rent an apartment, buy a home, obtain a home loan, or purchase home insurance. You can learn more about our testing program here.
Who is eligible for CAFHC services?
Any individual or organization who wants to report housing discrimination that has occurred in Central Alabama within in our 29 county jurisdictions is eligible for services. CAFHC services are free of charge and available regardless of income. Although we will process every complaint, unfortunately, due to limited resources we are unable to assist everyone within our service area.
Does CAFHC help people find housing?
No we do not, however we will assist in connecting individuals with resources within our 29 county service area.