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Fair Housing

The Law

The federal Fair Housing Act is Title VIII (8) of the Civil Rights Act 1968. It prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing, and in other housing related activities based on a protected class.

The federal government recognizes 7 protected classes:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Familial Status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians and pregnant women)

West Virginia also recognizes 2 additional protected classes:

  • Ancestry
  • Blindness

Examples

House discrimination can take many different forms. Here some examples of activities considered discriminatory under the federal and state Fair Housing Acts:

  • Refusing to sell or rent a home
  • Saying a house is unavailable when it is in fact available
  • Setting different terms or conditions for a sale or rental
  • Advertising to preferred groups only
  • Refusing to make a mortgage loan or to provide information on loans
  • Showing properties only in certain neighborhoods
  • Imposing different terms on a mortgage loan
  • Segregating populations within a housing complex
  • Indicating any preference based on one of the protected classes

Additional Protections

With respect to the disability protected class, there are some additional protections to insure you are able to obtain housing of your choice. These additional protections are your right to request reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications.

A reasonable accommodation is a request to change a policy or practice when there is a disability related need for the change.

For example:

  • Requesting a service animal to be allowed in a building with a “no pets” policy
  • Requesting a reserved accessible parking space at an apartment that has first come first served parking
  • Requesting rental materials in alternative formats like large print or braille

A reasonable modification is a request for permission to modify your unit or the common use areas to allow you equal use of it.

For example:

  • Installing a wheelchair ramp at an entrance with several steps
  • Installing grab bars in a bathroom
  • Installing a stair lift in a two story townhouse

Don’t forget to keep in mind that all new multifamily housing (4 or more units) built after March 13, 1991 is required to follow certain accessibility requirements.

If you need assistance making a request for a reasonable accommodation or reasonable modification – or if you have tried to rent somewhere and have not been able to get into the building or units because they were not accessible – please call us at 304-296-6091 or 800-834-6408.

Have you experienced housing discrimination?

Equal housing opportunity means everyone has the right to housing choice. Help us make this a reality for all West Virginians. If you believe you are being discriminated against in the sale, rental, or financing of housing because of your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, familial status, ancestry, or blindness, please contact us at:

601-3 E. Brockway Avenue Suites A & B
Morgantown, WV 26501
Phone: 304-296-6091
Toll-free: 800-834-6408
Fax: 304-292-5217
Email: mbecilla@nwvcil.org