Whether you are renting or buying a house in Las Vegas, it’s very important that you familiarize yourself with basic Federal Housing Protections information to protect yourself from entering into one-sided lease agreements and rental contracts.
The Fair Housing Act is part of the Civil Rights Act and is designed to serve as the bible for proper and fair housing practices for lenders, landlords, buyers, sellers, and renters. It is a law that provides every American citizen with equal opportunity to find housing regardless of status, race, religion and other factors.
Basic Federal Housing Protections Information: Who is Protected?
Under this law, seven (7) groups are protected:
- Family Status (having children under 18 in your household or being pregnant)
- Nation of Origin
With this basic Federal Housing Protections information, you’ll know what to look out for if you believe you’re being discriminated against when trying to find housing opportunities.
If you find a person or organization violating the Fair Housing Act, file a report to the authorities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development which will send a specialist to look into the case in a timely manner.
Basics Federal Housing Protections Information: Guidelines on Determining Violation
According to Federal Housing Protections, discrimination happens in the following situations:
1. Declining Sale or Rental of Housing
Any landlord, organization, or anyone with a capacity to provide housing is punishable by law if they refuse to grant housing via rent or sale to groups covered under the protection of the Fair Housing Act who made a fair and legitimate offer and meet all non-discriminatory requirements.
2. Discrimination in Terms and Conditions of the Sale or Rent
This situation happens when a landlord alters the terms and conditions of the rent or sale of housing towards members of a protected group.
To discourage people of different races or ethnic backgrounds from living in their properties, some owners or landlords will try to make outrageous changes to the terms and conditions of the contract to alienate these groups.
The most obvious example of this type of discrimination happens when a change to a contract or lease agreement is made specifically to target an interested party and turn them away from renting or buying. However, this type of discrimination is often hard to prove without a reasonable doubt because many discriminatory property owners will maintain plausible deniability. In this situation, it’s best to make a complaint to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and move on in your housing search.
Putting up advertisements, of any form, with discriminating content against members of a protected group will likewise be punishable under the Fair Housing law. No advertisements for housing (rental or sale) can explicitly or implicitly exclude a protected group from renting or purchasing due to their being in that specific group.
4. Denying Availability of Housing
There are times when agents, landlords, and building owners will tell members of a protected group that there’s no available housing in their area when in fact, there is. This act and other similar actions are also punishable by the law and are considered discrimination.
5. Steering and Blockbusting
Steering is a marketing practice wherein a real estate agent will try to “steer” clients to a particular property or area.
For instance, the agent is considered steering when he doesn’t show everything that he can offer to a particular client who is part of a specific group because he wants them to be in a specific area.
Blockbusting, on the other hand, is creating panic to the homeowners via false or exaggerated claims and other underhanded tactics to push them to sell or move out of their housing.
If you find yourself in any of the situations discussed above, don’t hesitate to reach out to authorities and file a report. Anyone who’s familiar with basic Federal Housing Protections information should be able to sense when a situation is clearly in violation of these laws.
To find contact information for the proper authorities to file a complaint, please visit the Department of Housing and Urban Development Fair Housing Complaint Page: https://www.hud.gov/directory/800/800num3