Fair housing means housing choice.

Fair housing rights protect our neighborhoods from discriminatory practices and foster the creation of inclusive communities of opportunity. The following acts of housing discrimination conducted based on Protected Class(es) are prohibited:

In the sale and rental of housing:

  • Refuse to rent or sell housing,
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing,
  • Make housing unavailable,
  • Deny a dwelling,
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling,
  • Provide different housing services or facilities,
  • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale or rental,
  • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting), or
  • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.

In mortgage lending and home insurance:

  • Refuse to make a mortgage loan or issue insurance,
  • Refuse to provide information regarding loans or insurance,
  • Impose different or conditions on a loan or insurance, such as different interest rates, points or fees,
  • Discriminate in appraising property,
  • Refuse to purchase a loan, or
  • Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan.

In addition, it is illegal to:

  • Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference which is applicable to housing otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.
  • Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right.

Examples of Housing Discrimination

Refusal to rent or sell housing

In Point Breeze, a city of Pittsburgh neighborhood, a white couple viewed a 1-bedroom apartment with the landlord and the landlord asked the couple to follow up if they were interested in further pursuing the unit. A Black couple schedule to view the same apartment. When the Black couple met the landlord at the unit’s viewing, the landlord stated that the apartment and that all the landlord’s units were too small for the Black couple.


Discriminate in the terms or conditions of housing

In Squirrel Hill, a city of Pittsburgh neighborhood, a family consisting of 2 parents and 2 minor aged children inquired into a 2-bedroom apartment. The landlord stated to the family that the unit’s security deposit was $1,100.00, equal to 1 months’ rent. A couple without minor aged children viewed the unit. The landlord stated to the couple that there was a security deposit special and that the security deposit was $100.00. For more case information, see Reese v. Jacobowitz


Falsely deny housing availability

In Baldwin, PA a white man inquired into the availability of a 1 or 2-bedroom unit and the landlord stated that a 2-bedroom townhouse was available. The next day, a Black man inquired into the availability of a 2-bedroom unit. The landlord stated the complex was “fully occupied” and that the potential tenant would be placed on a waiting list. On the same day, a white man again inquired into the availability of a 2-bedroom unit and the landlord stated that a unit was available immediately. For more case information, see United States v. S-2 Properties, Inc. et al.


Discriminatory advertisements and/or statements

In Altoona, PA a landlord posted a rental housing advertisement online that stated, “Not suitable for children/pets.” Further investigation substantiated that the unit was not available to families with minor aged children. For more case information, see FHP v. Gregory & Katherine Ellis.


Discriminate in financing

Example: In Wexford, PA a woman was denied her request to refinance the mortgage on her home because she was on maternity leave. She was required to return to work full-time before her refinancing request would be approved. For more case information, see United States v. Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp., et al.


Denial of a reasonable accommodation and/or modification

In West Mifflin, PA an apartment complex issued a policy that stated there would “no longer be any assigned [parking] spaces, no exceptions, even for people with disabilities.” Further investigation substantiated that reasonable accommodation requests, i.e. a change to a rule, for an assigned parking space due to limited mobility were denied. For more case information, see FHP v. S&J Ventures, LP et al.

In Plum, PA a group home for people with disabilities requested a reasonable accommodation to the borough’s requirement for that group homes obtain a conditional use permit. The borough denied the group home’s request and cited the group home for its lack of a conditional use permit. For more case information, see Sharpvisions, Inc. v. Borough of Plum et al.

Report Discrimination