Services We Provide
Our services include the following:
Education and Outreach: The Council's staff also seeks to educate the community about State and Federal fair housing laws. Fair housing education and outreach includes workshops, presentations, seminars, counseling and consultations. Subject matter includes understanding the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords under the federal, state and local fair housing laws.
Enforcement: The Council’s staff investigates housing discrimination complaints in all areas of housing including rentals, sales, mortgage lending, and insurance. The FHCSFV is not an enforcement agency; however, in the furtherance of fair housing, the component of our enforcement program includes counseling complainants and assisting with referrals to government enforcement agencies and when appropriate, referral to a private attorney. In some cases, the Council assists in, or becomes a party to litigation aimed at eliminating illegal discriminatory housing practices.
What is Fair Housing?
Fair Housing is the right to equal opportunity in rental, sale, and financing of housing under federal, state and local laws. Federal and state fair housing laws prohibit discrimination in housing and mortgage lending. The laws make it illegal to deny housing in the sale or rental of housing and in the mortgage lending process including the appraisal and insuring of a home based on the following protected classes.
Who is Protected?
Federally Protected Categories: The Federal Fair Housing Law is Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act and states that it is illegal to discriminate in the rental, sale or financing of housing because of the following protected categories:
- Familial Status
State Protected Categories: (California law covers all of the federal categories, plus):
- Source of Income
- Sexual Orientation
- Arbitrary Discrimination
What is Prohibited?
- Refusing to sell, rent, insure, construct, and/or finance housing.
- Refusing to discuss the terms of the sale, rental, insurance, construction and/or financing of housing.
- Refusing to allow inspection of housing.
- Refusing to renew a lease or causing the eviction of a tenant.
- Misrepresenting the availability of housing for sale, rent or inspection.
- Applying different terms or conditions for the sale, rental, insurance and construction and/or financing of housing.
- Refusing to allow reasonable modifications to a dwelling required to provide equal access to persons with disabilities.
- Refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies, procedures, guidelines, practices and services to persons with disabilities.
- Blockbusting, which consists of efforts to induce or attempt to induce a person to sell or rent a dwelling by representations regarding the presence or entry of a person or persons of a protected class.
- Steering, this is restricting or attempting to restrict, by word or action, an individuals housing choices.
- Segregation by floor, building, development, or community based on membership in a protected class.
- Setting different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling.
- Providing different housing services or facilities.
- Denying anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.
- Refusing to make a mortgage loan.
- Refusing to provide information regarding loans, impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees
- Discriminating in the appraising of property.
- Refusing to purchase a loan and setting different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan.
- Threatening, coercing, intimidating or otherwise interfering with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right.
- Advertising, printing, publishing or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on protected class status. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the law.
What You Should Do
If you think that you have encountered illegal housing discrimination, don't ignore it, seek help!
Keep a written record of all attempted and actual contacts and conversations with the manager, landlord, owner, real estate agent, loan officer, mortgage officer, insurance agent, and all others with whom you speak
Keep all documents, leases, applications, receipts, letters of denial, etc. It is always recommended that you make copies of all of these items
Call the Fair Housing Council at (818) 373-1185 or (800) 287-4617.
There are rights and remedies available under state and federal fair housing laws. Violations of the law may be pursued through the administrative process, by filing a complaint with the enforcement agency or through the filing of a civil action with the court. There are time limitations (statutes of limitation) for filing fair housing complaints. If a complaint is filed with an administrative agency the statute of limitations is up to one year. Under the Federal Fair Housing Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, there is a two year statute of limitations to file a complaint in court.