Fair Housing Tips

What you should know before you look for a place to live.

The following also is provided in Spanish. Lo siguiente tambien es provisto en Español.

Equal Housing Opportunity, Reasonable Accommodations Provider symbolHow can I recognize housing discrimination?

Housing discrimination can come in many forms; some of it is hidden, some is more direct. The following are some common examples of housing discrimination:

  • Refusal to rent or provide service:
    A landlord/manager refuses to rent or sell housing, refuses to negotiate for housing, denies a housing unit to qualified applicant(s), provides different housing services or facilities to different groups, etc.
  • Refusal to allow modifications:
    You are told you cannot put a ramp up to the threshold or that the landlord will not allow you to have a disabled parking space on an accessible path.
  • Adult only:
    You are told that there are no apartments available for families or you are told that no children are allowed.
  • Different terms or conditions:
    You know or suspect that the rent or special bonuses offered are different than what you are told by the manager.
  • Refusal to modify policies:
    You are told the “no pet policy” will not allow you to have your assistance animal (seeing-eye dog, hearing-ear dog, canine companion).
  • Steering:
    You are directed to homes or rental property where minority or family tenants are clustered together and located in the back (side, front) of the housing complex.
  • Discriminatory Presentation:
    A landlord/manager says, publishes or displays a racial, sexual or ethnic preference with respect to sale or rental of housing.
  • Misrepresentation:
    A landlord/manager tells you that a housing unit is not available for inspection, sale or rental, but you know or suspect the unit is shown to others or advertised as available.
  • Unequal Financing:
    You are denied a loan that you are qualified for or you are discriminated against in the terms and conditions of a loan.
  • Blockbusting:
    Brokers, real estate agents or other persons induce property owners to engage in panic-selling by representing that the racial composition of a neighborhood is going to change.

What can I do to prevent housing discrimination from happening to me?

When you go to look for a place to live:

  • Put together a reference sheet:
    Include your employment history, rental history, references, etc. Use this sheet to fill out your housing application. This way, you have a record of the information submitted. If you are disqualified because of income, rental history, etc., you are able to refer back to the facts given to the landlord/manager.
  • Bring someone with you:
    This person may serve as a witness should you experience discrimination.
  • Be aware of your surroundings:
    Be able to describe the housing and facilities you are shown, notice other tenants and employees, etc.
  • Ask for a business card:
    If no card is available, write down the person’s name, title and phone number. It is important that you know whom you are talking to.
  • Ask for copies of rules and policies:
    This is for your reference and possible evidence of an illegal housing practice.
  • Ask for marketing materials:
    Compare this information with what was advertised or told to you about the housing you are seeking.
  • Ask for the location of vacancies and when you can move in:
    Many places have a layout map for this purpose. Compare this information to your housing needs.
  • Pay close attention to what you are told:
    Often, misunderstandings cause unnecessary hard feelings. Be sure you understand what you are told. Avoid second guessing.
  • If you are denied housing services, ask for the reason in writing:
    If a written reason is not provided, write down the reason given for the denial. Documentation is the key to proving a discrimination case.
  • Record a detailed account of your experience. Ask the person you are with to do the same:
    While it is fresh in your mind, write down your account of the discrimination, using exact dates, words and phrases as much as you can.

What is Fair Housing?

Fair Housing is the right for all people to obtain safe, decent housing and be able to get it without discrimination. City and federal fair housing laws require that all people have an equal opportunity, free of discrimination, to buy, rent or live in housing of their choice.

What does the Fair Housing Law do?

The law makes it illegal to discriminate against anyone based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, family status or disability in the buying or renting of property.

What is covered under the law?

Apartments rented or leased by an owner, manager or company; houses sold or rented by real estate companies or brokers; houses sold or rented directly by an individual owner.

If YOU suspect discrimination in housing

Call or visit the city of Phoenix Equal Opportunity Department where trained staff will review your complaint with you and determine if it is a violation of fair housing laws. Housing complaints filed under the city Fair Housing Ordinance also are filed under the Federal Fair Housing Act.

Equal Opportunity Department
Compliance & Enforcement Division
251 W. Washington St., 7th Fl.
Phoenix, Az 85003-2295