Discrimination And Housing Options: Know Your Rights

Every citizen in the United States is entitled to certain rights. These rights, often referred to as civil rights, protect people against discrimination. When it comes to finding a new home to rent, it's important that you know your civil rights so that you will recognize when you are being denied access to a property in violation of your civil rights.

Landlords are required to give everyone a fair opportunity at qualifying for rental properties, and they cannot use the following reasons as a basis for denial of occupancy.

Marital Status

Many rental applications ask about the marital status of the people applying to live in a specific property. While this information can be useful in helping a landlord determine how many people will be occupying a property, it cannot be used to deny you the opportunity to rent.

Some landlords might not agree with couples living together prior to marriage or with same-sex couples residing in the same home. Despite these personal views, a landlord cannot turn you away for your marital status if you meet the other requirements outlined in the rental application.

Service Animal

If you have a medical condition that requires you to rely on a service animal for help completing daily activities, a landlord cannot deny you the opportunity to rent a property because of your service animal.

People rely on all types of animals for assistance. Dogs, pigs, rabbits, and other animals can be trained to warn of oncoming seizures, assist with mobility, and help retrieve personal items.

A medical doctor typically issues a notice authorizing the use of a service animal, and the animal must be registered with the appropriate government agencies. Even if a landlord has deemed a property as pet-free, they cannot refuse to rent to you because you have a service animal.

Source of Income

You may be surprised to learn that a landlord cannot refuse to rent to you based on the way you generate income. As long as you are not engaged in illegal activities, the manner in which you generate money cannot be used to discriminate against you.

This means that if you work in the adult industry, are employed by a bar or nightclub, or you work for a religious organization, a landlord that does not agree with the views and activities of these employers cannot hold your source of income against you.

As long as you make enough money to meet the rental standards, the source of that income is irrelevant.

Contact a discrimination attorney for more help.