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(8) Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right.

It is also illegal to advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

If you believe that your rights have been violated because of your race, color, religion, sex, disabilit , having children, or national origin, you should contact the Fair Housing office in the city where you live or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office in your area. You can also call HUD’s national number for discrimination complaints at 1-800-669-9777 or visit HUD’s website at www.hud.gov. You should also contact your local tenant association or an attorney for advice. If you file a complaint with a city Fair Housing office or HUD, you must do so within one year of the violation, they must investigate the claim and get back to you with their findings. You can also file a lawsuit in court for damages, fees, and costs, but you must do so within two years of the violation.

Only the seven groups mentioned above are protected in state and fed- eral fair housing laws, although your city ordinance may include other protections, for example, for students, the elderl , or sexual orientation. A landlord can use any other factor to determine whom they want to rent to as long as that factor does not have the obvious effect of dis- criminating against one or more of the groups. For example, a landlord cannot discriminate against people who wear dresses (this clearly has the effect of illegal discrimination on the basis of sex). But, a landlord may use financial histor , criminal histor , previous rental histor , and evic- tion records to determine whether she wants to rent to a tenant (assum- ing these factors do not clearly impact one of the protected categories).

A landlord is generally not in violation of Fair Housing (anti-discrimi- nation) laws if he or she wishes to evict you if you have failed to pay the rent or broken some other term of the lease. There are exceptions to this. For example, it may be illegal for the landlord to give tenants of Race A more time to pay the rent before they evict than give to tenants of Race B. If you were of Race B and in this situation, you might have a Fair Housing claim and maybe a defense in an eviction case.

LANDLORD’S DUTY TO ACCOMMODATE TENANTS WITH DISABILITIES

A tenant with a disability is entitled to a reasonable accommodation of that disability. If you have a disability, your landlord may not:

  • (1)

    Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing; and

  • (2)

    Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for you to use the housing. (Tenants in public and subsidized housing have additional rights under fair housing laws; for

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