Housing Department

Fair Housing Act

Fair Housing Laws

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on the race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18) or disability of those seeking housing. It also forbids retaliation.

These fair housing laws protect the right of each home seeker to equal opportunity and treatment in the purchase, sale, rental, leasing, financing, insuring and advertising of housing.

It is unlawful for a real estate operator, broker, or sales agent:

It is unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of any housing rights.

It is unlawful for a financial institution:

It is unlawful for an insurance agent:

It is unlawful for a multiple listing service/real estate organization to:

Housing Discrimination Still Exists

Despite a wide range of housing opportunities throughout Kansas, the doors of homes, apartments, mobile homes and condominiums are closed to many citizens because of illegal discrimination. Complaints to the Kansas Human Rights Commission and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) indicate that discrimination is a common practice, frequently undetected by homeseekers who are unlawfully denied access to housing.

Warning Signs of Housing Discrimination

What Kinds of Housing is Covered?

Real Property, (home, apartments, lots, etc.) rented or sold, whether by or through a real estate broker, sales agent or operator or directly by the owner (see Exemptions below).

Circumstantial Exemptions

The rental of an owner-occupied duplex or one room in a private home; the sale of property without help from a real estate dealer and without public advertising; and rental of church-owned housing to the extent of giving preference to that religion.

Refusal to rent on the basis of sex if: a single sex dormitory; the landlord chooses not to rent to unmarried couples; or the landlord rents fewer than 10 units or to fewer than 10 persons in an owner occupied facility; it can be demonstrated that gender-based exclusions are necessary for reasons of personal modesty or privacy.

Refusal to rent on basis of familial status if: Housing is intended as housing for older persons; occupants 62 years of age or older; or 80 percent of all units in the facility have occupants 55 years of age or older and special services for older persons are provided.

Who is Subject to the Fair Housing Laws?

Enforcement

The Urban League of Wichita investigates the claim and forwards it to the Fair Housing Office of the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which:

Immediate Help

If you need immediate help to stop a serious problem that is being caused by a Fair Housing Act violation, HUD may authorize the Attorney General to go to court to seek temporary or preliminary relief, pending the outcome of your complaint if:

Example: A builder agrees to sell a home, but after learning the buyer is black, fails to keep the agreement. The buyer files a complaint with HUD and HUD may authorize the Attorney General to go to court to prevent a sale to any other buyer until HUD investigates the complaint.

What Happens After a Complaint Investigation?

If, after investigating your complaint, HUS finds reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred, it will inform you. Your case will be heard in an administrative hearing within 120 days, unless you or the respondent want the case to be heard in Federal District Court. Either way there is no cost to you.

The Administrative Hearing

If your case goes to an administrative hearing, HUD attorneys will litigate the case on your behalf. You may intervene in the case and be represented by your own attorney if you wish. An administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will consider evidence from you and the respondent. If the AJL decides that discrimination occurred, the respondent can be ordered:

Federal District Court

If you or the respondent choose to have your case decided in Federal District Court, the Attorney General will file a suit and litigate it on your behalf. Like the ALJ, the District Court can order relief and award actual damages, attorney’s fees and costs. In addition, the court can award punitive damages.

Sedgwick County Housing Department partners with the Urban League of Wichita, a HUD approved and funded Fair Housing Education and Outreach agency. We refer all families who believe they have encountered housing discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, national origin familial status or disability to this agency with the following directions:

  1. Record your experiences in writing including your name and the names of other individuals involved, and the person or persons to whom the complaint is directed (the respondent.)
  2. Make a written log of all significant conversations including names, dates, times and addresses as well as any incidents that may indicate the alleged violation.
  3. Keep copies of any allegedly discriminating advertisements, letters or other relevant information.
  4. Call and make an appointment and take your documentation to the Fair Housing staff at the Urban League of Wichita.