Information every housing consumer should know

If you live in a house, apartment, dormitory or transitional housing, spend consecutive nights in an emergency shelter or live in a U.S. city or county, then congratulations, you are a housing consumer and customer for the purposes of this web site!

If you are browsing this page, you are also protected by the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing that is felt to be linked to any of the following protected classes:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial status (families with children)
  • Handicap

These seven protected classes cover everyone. Discrimination occurs when someone is treated differently because of their actual or perceived affiliation with one or more protected classes.

Although many times tenants feel that a situation ‘isn’t fair,’ it’s important to ask the following question when considering your options:

“Is the treatment I’m receiving based on my behavior or is it because of who I am, where I’m from or what I or my family look like or believe?”

Behavior might involve failure to pay rent, violating lease agreements or local laws, damaging property, or creating a threat to the health/safety of others. It may also involve a felony conviction that might in some cases make individuals ineligible for certain federal benefits, such as a housing subsidy.

Who we are generally relates to things not in our control (disability, gender, age, skin color), that are part of our culture or heritage (religious beliefs or birthplace), or that involve our familial status (married/divorced, kids or no kids, extended family, etc.). These are the traits covered, or protected, by the federal Fair Housing Act. State and local governments in some areas extend additional protections to include source of income, sexual orientation or other factors. (Note. As of this time, Idaho is not among them)

If you believe you have experienced discrimination based on a protected class issue, you might consider a fair housing complaint.