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Discrimination on the Basis of Religion, Shared Ancestry, or Ethnic Characteristics

Discrimination includes applying different terms or conditions of housing, denying applications or steering or restricting persons to certain neighborhoods or buildings because of their religion, shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.


Fair Housing Act Protections


In the process of buying, selling, renting or engaging in other housing-related transactions, it is illegal to discriminate based on religion under the Fair Housing Act.

Most advertisements that specify preference or restrictions based on religion are also illegal.


Title VI Protections


Title VI also prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. This extends to people who experience discrimination, including harassment, based on their actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, or citizenship or residency in a country with a dominant religion or distinct religious identity.


Fact Sheet on Title VI Protections on the Basis of Shared Ancestry and Ethnic Characteristics


Download the fact sheet to learn more about protections on the basis of shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The fact sheet is also available in additional languages:


Telltale Signs of Housing Discrimination Based on Religion That You Might Hear From a Landlord


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“You are not allowed to display a menorah in your window.”

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“I’ll show you neighborhoods with mosques.”

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“We specialize in lending to Christians.”

How to Report Housing Discrimination


If you believe your rights may have been violated, we encourage you to report housing discrimination.

Because there are time limits on when an allegation can be filed with HUD after an alleged violation, you should report housing discrimination as soon as possible. When reporting housing discrimination, please provide as much information as possible, including:

  • Your name and address
  • The name and address of the person(s) or organization your allegation is against
  • The address or other identification of the housing or program involved
  • A short description of the event(s) that cause you to believe your rights were violated; and
  • The date(s) of the alleged violation
Follow the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity