Fair Housing Basics:
Housing plays a large role in defining a person's quality of life. Where you live affects your access to social, cultural, educational, and many other community amenities such as schools, transportation, employment, medical services, retail and professional services, recreational and entertainment opportunities, and much more.
The Fair Housing Act emerged from Congress‘s recognition of housing as a crucial determinant of societal equality and opportunity, and its knowledge that racial and other prejudices ran deep within the private and public spheres. Ending discrimination and creating equal housing opportunities for all has been a national goal since the Fair Housing Act was passed by Congress in 1968.
Federal law prohibits discrimination based on
- National origin
- Religion, gender
- Familial status (having minor children) and
- Physical or mental disability.
North Dakota law prohibits discrimination based on all federally protected categories, plus age, marital status, and receipt of public assistance.
Minnesota law prohibits discrimination based on all federally protected categories, plus marital status, sexual orientation, creed, and receipt of public assistance.
Decisions and terms for housing-related transactions cannot be based on whether a person belongs to or associates with any of these categories of people.
Fair Housing Laws Apply To:
- individual homes, duplexes, multifamily housing (apartments, condos, and townhomes), retirement housing, adult foster homes and longterm care facilities, homeless shelters and other nonprofit housing
- sales, rentals, mortgage lending, building and construction, home insurance, appraisals, and inspections, land use regulations, zoning, and neighbor-on-neighbor harassment
- private housing and publicly supported housing
Open and barrier-free housing contributes to expanded social and economic opportunity for individuals and families, providing a conduit to improved life outcomes and stronger communities. Ensuring equal access to housing that is linked to high performing schools, sustainable employment, transportation infrastructure, and childcare is essential for securing an economically viable and sustainable state and region. Integrated housing allows residents to interact with people of different races, ethnicities, and lifestyles and, ideally, increase understanding and tolerance among a more diverse population.