Housing Discrimination Database

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Does your state or county of a history of discrimination? Despite all the progress made in our country, discrimination is still a fact of life in many arenas. One place where discrimination remains present is in housing. There is a law called the Fair Housing Act (FHA) which actually prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status, or disability. The FHA is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. It is based on this act that individuals can expect to find reprieve from housing discrimination. Furthermore, thanks to public records advancements, it is also possible to track what areas have FHA violations.

Under the FHA, housing discrimination is prohibited in the sale, rental, and financing of housing related transactions. While the FHA covers most residential housing, there are certain exceptions. These exceptions can include housing owned by organization or private clubs whose occupancy is specifically for members, owner-occupied building with four or less units, and single family homes sold or rented with using a broker for the transaction. According to this law, discriminating acts could include refusing to show a property, imposing different restrictions/guidelines, denying housing, refusing to negotiate,refusing to provide a loan, intimidate or threaten, or discriminatory advertising. If these acts are taken against any of the groups protected under the FHA, then you could have a case for housing discrimination.

In addition to requirements regarding housing transactions, there are also building requirements. Any housing which is covered by the FHA and was built after March 13, 1991 must meet certain requirements to accommodate those with disabilities. These requirements include having doors and hallways wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, and having public/common areas accessible to those with wheelchairs. Also, the units must have features such as accessible light switches and kitchens and bathrooms that can accomadate wheelchairs.

A federal agency called the Us Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) help enforce the guidelines of the FHA. If you have a housing discrimination complaint, you can file it with the HUD and the FHEO is the ageny that will investigate the allegations. The HUD provides online access to file a complaint, or you can print a complaint form and mail it in.

You can also search for housing discrimination complaints through an online database. Using data provided by HUD, this database allows you to search by state and county. Then, statistics are provided showing the type of discrimination case, number of complaints, and year of complaints. For example, in Alameda County, California there were 59 complaints in 2006. The statistics go on to show that 18 were based on disability, 26 based on race, 5 based on national origin, 10 based on family status, 2 based on religion, and 4 based on sex. The database also provides the demographics of the area, including population and median household income.

It is interesting to know how your neighborhood, or maybe potential neighborhood, stacks up in this area. If you are trying to secure housing in an area with a high number of FHA claims, this is definitely something to keep in the back of your mind. Perhaps if there is a clear pattern and problem, it is something that should be addressed by your local government. To find access to the housing discrimination claims database and other federal government databases, visit The Free Public Records Directory. In addition to federal databases, you can also view online public records by state.

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