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The federal, state and local Fair Housing laws prohibit discrimination in housing based on:

  • Race or color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • National origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Military veteran status
  • Age
  • Marital status

Dos and Don'ts

Do:

  • Treat each applicant equally.
  • Be consistent in the information you request and the applicant approval process.
  • Document contacts with applicants and tenants in writing.
  • Keep a written copy of your policies and procedures on applications and occupancy.
  • Educate and train employees about Fair Housing Laws and practices.

Don't:

  • Make, print or publish any statement in connection with the rental of a dwelling that indicates a preference, limitation or discrimination based on a protected class. This prohibition applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from laws prohibiting housing discrimination.
  • Refuse to consider the income of multiple applicants applying to live together in one housing unit.
  • Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right.
  • Ask illegal questions about an applicant’s marital status, religious practices, or sexual orientation.
  • Steer applicants away from their desired property to other landlords or neighborhoods.
  • Ask applicants about birth control or family practices.

Prohibitions

If only based on the renter's membership in a Federal, State, or local protected class, a rental property owner or manager is not allowed to:

  • Refuse to rent a home or apartment.
  • Refuse to negotiate for a home or apartment.
  • Make unavailable or deny a home or apartment.
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for rent of a dwelling.
  • Provide different housing services and facilities.
  • Falsely deny that a home or apartment is available for rent.
  • Represent that housing used by a protected class member may result in lowering of property values, change in the ethnic makeup of neighborhood, or decline in the quality of schools.
  • Deny anyone access to, or membership in, a facility or service related to the rental of housing, or discriminate against any person. 

Exemptions to Fair Housing Law

  • Owner-occupied buildings with four or fewer units.
  • Single-family housing sold without use of a broker.
  • Housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.
  • Some senior housing facilities and communities are exempt from liability based on familial status.
  • Gender preference may be acceptable if there is a shared kitchen or bath.

Additional Protection Details

 

Explore Fair Housing

 

Contact Us

Fair Housing

6401 York Road, First Floor
Baltimore, Maryland 21212

Hours

Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Phone

Fair Housing Specialist

David Skinner

 
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