What is fair housing? Learn about the federal, state, and local laws that protect people from illegal housing discrimination.
What is Fair Housing?
Fair Housing refers to a set of federal, state, and local laws that protect people from illegal housing discrimination. These laws prohibit housing discrimination based on a person's race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, source of income, familial status (children in the household under age 18, anticipated presence of children through adoption, pregnancy etc.), marital status, or physical or mental disability. People protected by Fair Housing laws against discrimination are said to belong to a "protected class."
Violations of Fair Housing laws may include:
- Refusing to rent housing to a member of a protected class
- Refusing to sell a home to a member of a protected class
- Providing false information to a member of a protected class
- Evicting a member of a protected class
- Refusing to make a loan, or charging a higher interest rate, to a member of a protected class
- Refusing to allow persons with disabilities to make their housing physically accessible
- Refusing to adjust rules that inhibit the ability of people with disabilities to successfully use their housing
- Having policies that make families with children unwelcome
- Harassment, e.g., asking a tenant for sexual favors, or proselytizing the tenant, or calling members of protected classes insulting names
- Building new housing that is not accessible to persons with disabilities.
For more information about Fair Housing, and instructions on how to make a complaint if you feel you have experienced discrimination, see the list of Partners and Other Resources below.
Fair Housing Advocacy Committee (FHAC)
The Fair Housing Advocacy Committee is a multijurisdictional committee of Portland, Multnomah County and Gresham, and bound by an intergovernmental agreement to plan local federal resources to affirmatively further fair housing and access to opportunity. Members of this committee are appointed by the Portland Housing Commissioner, Multnomah County, Home Forward, the City of Gresham, and the Coalition of Communities of Color.
The committee is charged with reviewing data on disparities in housing choice, reviewing and endorsing best practices, coordinating public information campaigns, the regular review of enforcement data, suggesting policies for adoption by jurisdictions, and advocating for resources that will support effective approaches to furthering Fair Housing. FHAC also advocates in the areas of Fair Housing education and outreach, legal service referrals, and policy and planning regarding rental housing, ownership housing and related issues of access and opportunity.
For more information, visit the FHAC homepage or contact the Fair Housing and Federal Grants Coordinator:
Celebrating Fair Housing Month
Fair Housing Audit Testing Reports
City of Portland Fair Housing Ordinance
Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing
View full report:
Partners and Other Resources
If you have questions, need additional information, or believe you may have been a victim of housing discrimination, please contact one of the agencies listed below:
Oregon’s only statewide, grassroots, tenant-controlled, tenant-rights organization, the Community Alliance of Tenants educates, organizes and develops the leadership of low-income tenants to directly challenge unjust housing policies and practices.
Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) promotes opportunity, access and choice for individuals with disabilities by assisting them with legal problems directly related to their disabilities.
The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO), a department of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), administers and enforces federal laws and establishes policies that make sure all Americans have equal access to the housing of their choice.
The Fair Housing Council of Oregon promotes equal access to housing by providing education, outreach, technical assistance and enforcement opportunities specifically related to federal, state and local fair housing laws. Find information for housing consumers and housing providers, translated materials, Fair Housing guide books, and sample forms.
LASO provides legal representation on civil cases (including housing discrimination) to clients throughout Oregon.
Visit this website to get answers to legal questions, sample forms, and information about the courts, lawyers and social service organizations that provide services related to Housing.
Oregon Law Center provides free civil legal services to low-income individuals. They offer information, advice and representation on a number of housing law issues that are important for low income people, including fair housing, government subsidized housing, low-income housing development, landlord-tenant law and issues related to homelessness.
BOLI's mission is to protect employment rights, advance employment opportunities, and protect access to housing and public accommodations free from discrimination.
Find links to frequently asked questions about landlord and tenant law.