You recently applied to rent a vacant apartment in a New Jersey complex. You felt you had a great chance of becoming a new tenant in the building, but that changed after you met the landlord face to face. Were you a victim of racial discrimination?
The American Bar Association explores the Fair Housing Act. Learn whether you have a civil rights violation case on your hands.
Understanding the Fair Housing Act
Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords cannot reject your bid for tenancy because you fall into a protected class, such as your religion, race, mental or physical handicap, skin color or ethnic origin. Potential tenants with children also qualify as a protected class. Even after you move in, the Fair Housing Act bars property owners from threatening, intimidating or harassing you because of your protected class status.
Landlords reserve the right to screen tenants according to such legal criteria like income, rental history, criminal past and credit history. Some landlords may prefer not to rent to applicants with tattoos or piercings, which they may do as long as they base their decision on personal criteria and not whether a person belongs to a protected class.
Proving illegal discrimination
You bear the burden of proving that a property owner infringed on your civil rights under the Fair Housing Act. To do so satisfactorily, you must prove that you belong to a protected class, you submitted a rental application and met the latest requirements, the property owner refused you tenancy and the unit you desired remained vacant after you received a denial.
As a member of a protected class, you deserve the chance to live in peace. Learn how to protect your rights by understanding them.