Housing Discrimination


Discrimination is not always obvious

Discrimination is not always obvious. Don't be fooled by a smile and a handshake. These are a few signs of discrimination:

  • "We can't have three generations living in one apartment"
    "We had an apartment, but someone just put a deposit on it" • "Sorry, we just rented the last apartment" • "The apartment won't be available for several months" • "You'll have to wait for the first available parking place, and we can't guarantee you the space outside your unit" • "There's a synagogue a few miles from here. You might want to try that area"
  • "The rental deposit for male tenants is a little higher because they don't keep the place as neat"
    "We'd like to keep it male only because we don't want any trouble" • "I know of a nice area where most of the people speak your language" • "This apartment is a little expensive, isn't it?" • "We can't make an appointment for you now, why don't you call back"
  • "What income do you have besides child support and alimony?"
    "I might have a vacancy - how bad do you want it honey?" • "We don't allow children on the second floor" • "I'm sorry, we only rent to working people" • "Your income has to be four times the rent" • "You do go to church, don't you?" • "We can't allow you to widen any doorways to accommodate your wheelchair"

Reasonable Accomodation

AccessibilityA person with a qualifying disability may request a reasonable accommodation from a housing provider, employer or government entity in order to participate in programs or events, or to occupy housing. The accommodation may involve a physical modification such as a wheelchair ramp, a programmatic or policy modification such as a designated parking space, or nonstandard communication protocol.

The requested modification should realistically and effectively accommodate the individual's particular disability (according to a professional third party familiar with the specific disability) and, under certain conditions, must not represent an undue financial or administrative burden.


Service/Support Animals

ServiceAnimalAn animal is considered a "service" animal if it has been "individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working, as well as disabilities that may not be visible, such as deafness, epilepsy, or psychiatric conditions."

Emotional support, therapy or companion animals are not legally defined in the same way as service animals, and may not have been individually trained to perform specific tasks. They may, however, be exempt from pet policies and deposits if certified by a knowledgeable expert as enabling their owner to compensate for or cope with a qualifying mental, emotional or physical disability.

HUD Companion Animal Amendment