If you're renting or looking for an apartment in Ohio, you're covered by the Fair Housing Act, a law that protects tenants and prospective tenants from illegal housing discrimination based on a number of protected classes.
What Is the Fair Housing Act?
Passed in 1968, the Fair Housing Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in home sales, financing, and rentals based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Also known as Title XIII, the FHA was part of civil rights legislation. It was amended in 1988 to expand coverage of the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on disability or familial status, which were not previously considered protected classes. The Fair Housing Amendments Act also established new enforcement mechanisms to assist victims of housing discrimination in seeking justice.
Fair Housing Act Ohio
The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in home sales, financing, and rentals based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Federal fair housing law, which extends to Ohio, protects apartment dwellers' right to enjoy access to housing based on seven protected classes. They include:
In addition to these protected classes, the Ohio Fair Housing Law (Ohio Revised Code Section 4112) offers legal protection based on:
- Ancestry: Your family's place or origin cannot disqualify you from access to housing.
- Military status: Your status as a veteran or active service military member cannot factor into a landlord's decision to rent you a property or to not rent you a property.
What Qualifies as Discrimination in Ohio?
According to Ohio's Office of Housing and Community Partnerships, housing discrimination doesn't just mean that you've been denied rental of a dwelling unit. Discrimination also includes a landlord withholding or misrepresenting information about available housing, steering, setting higher standards of creditworthiness for minorities, or quoting different prices, terms or conditions for financing, insurance or sale.
The Fair Housing Act safeguards against the following discriminatory practices based on class:
- Refusal to sell or rent housing
- Refusal to negotiate for housing
- Making housing unavailable
- Denying a dwelling
- Setting different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
- Providing different housing services or facilities
- Falsely denying that housing is available for inspection, sale or rental when it is actually available
- Persuade or attempt to influence owners to sell or rent to someone (a practice known as blockbusting)
- Denying anyone access or membership in a facility or service related to the sale or rental of housing, including brokerage and multiple listing services
Reporting Housing Discrimination in Ohio
Everyone deserves access to housing. If you feel you been the victim of housing discrimination, it's important to report the incident. You can do so by contacting the Ohio Civil Rights Commission at 1-888-278-7101, or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Fair Housing Complaint Hotline (toll free) at 1-800-669-9777. Complaints can also be filed online.