In 1988, the Fair Housing Act was amended to add protections for people with physical and mental disabilities.
If you are denied an opportunity to rent a home or apartment—or given false information about a rental—because of your disability, you are a victim of illegal housing discrimination. It is also illegal for landlords or other housing providers to treat in-place residents or their guests unfavorably because they have a disability or associate with people with disabilities.
Disability protections are unique because in some circumstances fair housing laws require housing providers to treat disabled people differently from non-disabled people. Many people with disabilities have physical, mental, or emotional limitations that prevent or interfere with their ability to obtain, use and enjoy their housing. In order for people with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their housing, it is sometimes necessary for housing providers to make “reasonable accommodations” or allow “reasonable modifications.”
Examples & Warning Signs of Disability Discrimination
- Refusing to rent, or requiring a larger security deposit, for a person with a wheelchair.
- “Steering” a visually impaired person to a downstairs unit.
- Charging late fees to a resident whose government-issued disability check arrives late.
- Applying a no-pets policy, or requiring a pet deposit or extra rent, because a resident has a disability-related assistance animal.
- Refusing to allow a tenant—usually at the tenant’s expense—to make modifications to a rental unit to make it more accessible.
- Building new multi-family housing units that do not meet accessibility standards.
If you suspect that you were denied housing or treated unfairly because of your disability—or if you would like help requesting a reasonable accommodation or reasonable modification—contact the GBLA Fair Housing Law Project.