Equal Housing Apportunity
The Housing Authority of
Portland, serving all of Multnomah County & headquartered in
Portland, Oregon, conducts its business in accordance with the Federal
Fair Housing Law, the City of Portland Fair Housing Ordinance, and
the Oregon Revised Statutes.
In selling, renting, or
leasing real property:
A.) The U.S. Fair Housing Amendments act of 1988 makes it illegal
to discriminate against any person because of race, color, religion,
sex, handicap (disability), familial status, or national origin
(coverage includes private housing, housing that receives Federal
financial assistance, and State and local government housing.);
B.) The Code of the City
of Portland, Oregon, adds further protections that make it illegal
to discriminate against any person on the basis of sexual orientation,
source of income, or age (§ 23.01.060);
C.) The State of Oregon
adds further protection that makes it illegal to discriminate against
any person on the basis of marital status (ORS §659.033).
These laws cover most housing.
In some circumstances, the laws exempt owner-occupied buildings
with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented
without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations
and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.
In the sale and rental of housing, no one may take any of
the following actions based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap
(disability), familial status, national origin, sexual orientation,
source of income, age, or marital status:
In addition, it is illegal
for anyone to threaten, coerce, intimidate, or interfere with anyone
exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that
- Refuse to rent or sell
- Refuse to negotiate for
- 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 a multiple listing
service) related to the sale or rental of housing.
However, housing need not
be made available to a person who is a direct threat to the health
or safety of others or who currently uses illegal drugs.
Protection If You Have A Disability
If you (or someone associated with you):
your landlord may not:
- Have a physical or mental
disability (including hearing, mobility & visual impairments,
chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS-Related
Complex, and mental retardation) that substantially limits one
or more major life activities; or
- Have a record of such
- Are regarded as having
such a disability
Example: A building with a
"no pets" policy must allow a visually impaired tenant to keep a guide
- Refuse to let you make
reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas,
at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the
housing. (Where reasonable, the landlord
may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to
its original condition when you move.); or
to make reasonable accommodations in rules,
policies, practices, or services if necessary for the disabled
person to use the housing.
Example: An apartment complex
that offers tenants ample, unassigned parking must honor a request
from a mobility-impaired tenant for a reserved space near her apartment
if necessary to assure that she can have barrier-free access to
Opportunities For Families
Unless a building or community qualifies as housing for older persons,
it may not discriminate based on familial status. That is, it may
not discriminate against families in which one or more children
under 18 live with:
Familial status protection
also applies to pregnant women and anyone securing legal custody of
a child under 18.
- A parent; or
- A person who has legal
custody of the child or children; or
- The designee of the parent
or legal custodian, with the parent or custodian's written permission.
Exemption: Housing for
older persons is exempt from the prohibition against familial status
You Think Your Rights Have Been Violated
- The HUD Secretary has
determined that it is specifically designed for and occupied by
elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government program;
- It is occupied solely
by persons who are 62 or older; or
- It houses at least one
person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied
units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates an intent to
house persons who are 55 or older.
The U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) is ready to help
with any problem of housing discrimination. If you think your rights
have been violated, there are several ways to file a complaint:
You can write a letter to HUD
- You can file a complaint
right now, by downloading & completing the complaint form. Housing
Discrimination Complaint Form (HUD-903)
- You can call HUD's toll-free
Fair Housing Hotline at 1-800-669-9777.
- You can print out a form,
complete it, and drop it off at your local HUD office or mail
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
U.S. Dept. of Housing
and Urban Development
451 Seventh St. SW, Room 5204
Washington, DC 20410-2000
You have one year after an
alleged violation to file a complaint with HUD, but you should file
it as soon as possible.
Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity website
has more information regarding illegal discrimination in housing.
For Landlords Regarding Screening Guidelines
The purpose of the fair housing laws is to prevent discrimination
on the basis of a person's membership in a protected class. Nothing
in the law forbids you from setting fair screening guidelines and
applying them equally to all applicants.
Keep in mind that every
person belongs to a protected class - each of us can be defined
in terms of our race, color, religion, sex, handicap (disability),
familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, source of
income, age, or marital status. So any time you deny an applicant,
you deny someone who belongs to a protected class. The question
is whether or not you treat applicants (or tenants) adversely because
of the class to which they belong. If the criteria you set are blind
to class issues, and you apply them consistently, you may turn down
applicants who do not measure up.
The key lies in making
sure your process is fair - that it neither directly nor indirectly
discriminates on the basis of one of the protected classes. To comply,
you should design a fair process and apply it consistently and equally
to all applicants. Examples:
- You may have a rule that
requires all applicants to show photo ID, and you could turn down
applicants who cannot produce a photo ID. The practice becomes
illegal if you apply the rule inconsistently - for example, requiring
ID from people of one class but not from those of another.
- You could give a document
to all applicants that outlines rules of the unit and warns against
selling drugs on the property. The practice becomes illegal if
you hand the document to applicants of one class, but not of another.
(Should you develop such a document, also make sure the language
used does not discourage members of a protected class from applying.)
- If someone provide you
with false information or lies on the application, you may refuse
to rent to them. This is both legal and highly appropriate.
There is nothing illegal about setting fair criteria and holding all applicants to the same standards.
By the consistent use of such guidelines you can retain full and appropriate control over who lives in your rental units and who does not.
As you study the letter of the law, keep its spirit in mind as well. The sooner we remove the types of discrimination that weaken our communities, the sooner
we can build a stronger, more equitable society.
Discrimination Complaint Form (Spanish)
Complaint Form (English)
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