--> -->

FHA Claims: Protecting Your Rights Under the Fair Housing Act

Posted on Jul 5, 2024 in Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a critical piece of legislation designed to protect individuals from discrimination in housing. Enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the FHA aims to eliminate housing discrimination and promote equal opportunity in housing markets. At Bloom Legal, we are dedicated to helping individuals understand their rights under the FHA and navigate the claims process. This guide provides an in-depth look at FHA claims, the nature of these claims, and how to effectively pursue them.

What is the Fair Housing Act (FHA)?

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in housing-related activities based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. The FHA applies to various aspects of housing, including renting, selling, financing, and advertising.

Key Provisions of the FHA

The FHA covers a wide range of discriminatory practices in housing. Key provisions include:

Discriminatory Practices

The FHA prohibits several specific practices, including:
  • Refusal to Rent or Sell: Refusing to rent or sell housing to someone based on protected characteristics.
  • Differential Terms and Conditions: Imposing different terms, conditions, or privileges for the sale or rental of housing.
  • False Representation: Misrepresenting the availability of housing to individuals based on protected characteristics.
  • Advertising Discrimination: Making, printing, or publishing discriminatory notices, statements, or advertisements.
  • Discriminatory Financing: Denying or setting different terms for mortgage loans or other housing-related financing.
  • Discriminatory Services: Denying access to or providing different terms for housing services and facilities.

Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications

The FHA requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations and allow reasonable modifications for individuals with disabilities. This includes:
  • Reasonable Accommodations: Changes in rules, policies, practices, or services that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. Examples include allowing assistance animals in no-pet housing or providing accessible parking spaces.
  • Reasonable Modifications: Structural changes to a dwelling or common areas that may be necessary for a person with a disability to fully use and enjoy the premises. Examples include installing grab bars in bathrooms or ramps for wheelchair access.

Harassment and Retaliation

The FHA also protects individuals from harassment and retaliation. Harassment based on protected characteristics is prohibited, as is retaliating against someone for asserting their rights under the FHA or assisting others in asserting their rights.

Common Types of FHA Claims

Understanding the common types of FHA claims can help you recognize when your rights may have been violated and what steps to take next.

Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination claims can include:
  • Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodations: Landlords must make reasonable accommodations to policies or services to afford individuals with disabilities equal housing opportunities.
  • Failure to Allow Reasonable Modifications: Landlords must permit reasonable modifications to the premises at the tenant’s expense and may require the tenant to restore the property to its original condition when they move out.

Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination claims can include:
  • Refusal to Rent or Sell: Landlords or sellers refusing to rent or sell to individuals based on race.
  • Discriminatory Terms and Conditions: Imposing different rental terms, higher security deposits, or other conditions based on race.

Familial Status Discrimination

Familial status discrimination claims can include:
  • Refusal to Rent to Families with Children: Landlords cannot refuse to rent to families with children unless the housing qualifies as housing for older persons.
  • Discriminatory Policies: Implementing policies that unfairly limit housing options for families with children, such as prohibiting children from certain areas or imposing curfews.

Sex Discrimination

Sex discrimination claims can include:
  • Sexual Harassment: Landlords or housing providers making unwanted sexual advances or creating a hostile living environment based on sex.
  • Differential Treatment: Treating tenants or potential tenants differently based on sex, such as offering different lease terms or amenities.

National Origin Discrimination

National origin discrimination claims can include:
  • Refusal to Rent or Sell: Discriminating against individuals based on their country of origin or ancestry.
  • Discriminatory Advertising: Using language in advertisements that indicates a preference or limitation based on national origin.

How to File FHA Claims

Filing an FHA claim involves several steps. Here’s what you need to know:
  • Step 1: Identify the Violation
    • The first step is to identify the specific violation of the FHA. This could involve disability discrimination, racial discrimination, or any other prohibited practice. Document the incident in detail, including dates, times, locations, and any individuals involved.
  • Step 2: Gather Evidence
    • Gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This can include photographs, correspondence, lease agreements, witness statements, and any other relevant documents. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case will be.
  • Step 3: File a Complaint with HUD
    • You can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD is responsible for enforcing the FHA and will investigate your complaint. You can file a complaint online, by mail, or by phone. The complaint must be filed within one year of the alleged discrimination.
  • Step 4: Participate in the Investigation
    • HUD will investigate your complaint, which may involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing documents, and conducting site visits. You may be asked to provide additional information or participate in mediation to resolve the issue.
  • Step 5: Consider Legal Action
    • If HUD’s investigation does not resolve your complaint, you may need to consider filing a lawsuit. Consult with an attorney who specializes in FHA claims to discuss your legal options. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal system and advocate for your rights.

Remedies for FHA Violations

If your FHA claim is successful, there are several remedies available:

Injunctive Relief

Injunctive relief requires the offending party to take specific actions to correct the violation. This can include changing discriminatory policies, making reasonable accommodations or modifications, or providing housing.

Monetary Damages

You may be entitled to compensatory damages for out-of-pocket expenses, emotional distress, and other losses resulting from the discrimination. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the offending party and deter future violations.

Attorney’s Fees

If you prevail in your FHA claim, you may be entitled to recover attorney’s fees and court costs.

The Role of an Attorney in FHA Claims

Navigating an FHA claim can be complex, and having an experienced attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Here’s how an attorney can help:

Legal Expertise

An attorney who specializes in FHA claims understands the intricacies of the law and can provide expert guidance on your case. They can help you identify the specific violation, gather evidence, and file a complaint.


An attorney can represent you throughout the investigation and legal process, advocating for your rights and interests. They can negotiate with the offending party, participate in mediation, and represent you in court if necessary.

Support and Guidance

Dealing with housing discrimination can be stressful and overwhelming. An attorney can provide the support and guidance you need to navigate the process and seek justice.

Bloom Legal Can Help With Your FHA Claims

Understanding your rights under the Fair Housing Act is crucial for ensuring you are not subjected to housing discrimination. At Bloom Legal, we are committed to helping individuals navigate the complexities of FHA claims and advocate for their rights. If you believe your rights under the FHA have been violated, contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you seek the justice you deserve.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. For personal legal guidance, please consult a qualified attorney.

You Might Also Like:

(T) 504-599-9997

Downtown location
  825 Girod Street
  Suite A

New Orleans, Louisiana

    Contact Us