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Housing Discrimination and Persons Identifying as LGBTQ

Resources on housing discrimination and persons identifying as LGBTQ

Persons who identify as LGBTQ who believe they have experienced housing discrimination may be able to pursue a claim under all or some of the following:

  • The Fair Housing Act, if they have experienced discrimination under one of the Act’s seven protected classes, such as sex or disability;
  • HUD’s Equal Access Rule; or
  • State and local anti-discrimination laws that specifically include sexual orientation and/or gender identity as protected classes.

Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. A person who identifies as LGBTQ who has experienced (or is about to experience) discrimination under any of these bases may file a complaint with HUD. HUD is committed to investigating violations of the Fair Housing Act against all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Examples:

  • A transgender woman is asked by the owner of her apartment building not to dress in women’s clothing in the common areas of the property. This may violate the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition against sex discrimination, which includes discrimination based on non-conformity with gender stereotypes.
  • A gay man is evicted because his landlord believes he will infect other tenants with HIV/AIDS. This may violate the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition against disability discrimination, which includes discrimination against people who have or are perceived to have HIV/AIDS.

HUD’s Equal Access Rule

HUD’s Equal Access Rule requires equal access to HUD programs without regard to a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. Housing providers that receive HUD funding or have HUD-insured loans are subject to the Rules. A person who identifies as LGBTQ who has experienced (or is about to experience) discrimination by a HUD-funded or FHA-insured housing provider or lender may report it to HUD by either filing a complaint or by contacting a local FHEO office.

Example:

  • An underwriter for an FHA-insured lender is reviewing a loan application by two males; both incomes are being used as the basis for the applicants’ credit worthiness. The underwriter assumes the applicants are a gay couple and, as a result, denies the application despite the fact that the applicants meet all requirements for the loan. This may violate HUD’s Equal Access Rule, which prohibits FHA-insured lenders from taking actual or perceived sexual orientation into consideration in determining adequacy of an applicant’s income.

State and Local Laws Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity

Many state and local laws prohibiting housing discrimination specifically include sexual orientation and/or gender identity as protected classes. A state or local human rights agency may be able to assist with determining coverage under those laws.

State
Bans sexual
orientation
housing
discrimination
Bans gender
identity/expression
housing
discrimination
Enforcement Agency
California
X
X
California Department of Fair Employment & Housing - (213) 439-6703
Connecticut
X
X
Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities - (860) 541-3400
Colorado
X
X
Colorado Civil Rights Division - (303) 894-2997
Delaware
X
X
Delaware Division of Human Relations - (302)739-2207
District of Columbia
X
X
District of Columbia Office of Human Rights - (202) 727-4559
Hawaii
X
X
Hawaii Civil Rights Commission - (808)586-8636
Illinois
X
X
Illinois Department of Human Rights - (312) 814-6200
Iowa
X
X
Iowa Civil Rights Commission - (512) 281-4121
Maine
X
X
Maine Human Rights Commission - (207) 624-6050
Maryland
X
X
Maryland Commission on Human Relations - (410) 767-8563
Massachusetts
X
X
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination - (617) 727-3990
Minnesota
X
X
Minnesota Department of Human Rights - (800) 657-3704
Nevada
X
X
Nevada Equal Rights Commission - (775) 684-3849
New Jersey
X
X
New Jersey Division on Civil Rights - (609) 984-3100
New Hampshire
X
 
New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights - (603) 271-2767
New Mexico
X
X
New Mexico Human Rights Bureau - (800) 566-9471
New York
X
X
New York State Division of Human Rights - (718) 741-8440
Oregon
X
X
Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries - (971) 673-0792
Rhode Island
X
X
Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights - (401) 222-2661
Utah
X
X
Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division – (801) 530-6801
Vermont
X
X
Vermont Human Rights Commission - (802) 828-2480
Washington
X
X
Washington State Human Rights Commission - (360) 753-6770
Wisconsin
X
 
Wisconsin Equal Rights Division - (608) 266-6860

Additional Resources


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