Fair Housing

What is Fair Housing?

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities. Additional protections apply to federally assisted housing.

Who is protected?

 The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation)
  • Familial Status
  • Disability

Who is protected?

The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In very limited circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent, and housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.

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.

More HUD resources for fair housing:

Reasonable Accommodations

What is Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service that may be necessary for a person with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use spaces, or to fulfill their program obligations. Please note that the ADA often refers to these types of accommodations as “modifications.”

Any change in the way things are customarily done that enables a person with disabilities to enjoy housing opportunities or to meet program requirements is a reasonable accommodation. In other words, reasonable accommodations eliminate barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from fully participating in housing opportunities, including both private housing and in federally assisted programs or activities.

Who can ask?

Not all persons with disabilities will have a need to request a reasonable accommodation. However, all persons with disabilities have a right to request or be provided a reasonable accommodation at any time.

VHRA’s Reasonable Accommodation Request Form

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

What is VAWA?

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a federal law that, in part, provides housing protections for people applying for or living in units subsidized by the federal government and who have experienced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, human trafficking  or stalking, to help keep them safe and reduce their likelihood of experiencing homelessness.

Who is covered?

VAWA’s housing protections, in part, are available to someone who has previously or is currently experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, human trafficking or stalking. The survivor does NOT have to be married to, related to, or living with the perpetrator to be protected by VAWA. It does not matter how long ago the survivor experienced the violence. A survivor’s immigration status in itself does not impact a survivor’s right to VAWA’s housing protections.

VAWA’s housing protections, in part, apply to a survivor if they are applying for or living in shelter, transitional housing, or permanent housing that is subsidized by a federal homeless assistance program or federal affordable housing program. See below for a list of HUD programs covered by VAWA.

VAWA protects survivors, regardless of their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation AND regardless of the sex, gender identity or sexual orientation of the person who caused harm.

For more information about VAWA, please see the resources listed below: https://www.hud.gov/vawa#whatsnew

Additional Resources