Fair Housing

Fair Housing is Your Right!

Greene County, in collaboration with Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services' Fair Housing Law Center, affirmatively promotes the rights of those protected under the Fair Housing Act and Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. It is illegal to discriminate in the sale or rental of housing, against individuals seeking a mortgage or housing assistance, or in other housing-related activities based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, disability, age (40 and over), pregnancy, ancestry, the use of a support animal or because the user is a handler or trainer of such support animals. 

2019 Fair Housing Trends Report

  • The number of housing discrimination complaints in 2018 is up by eight percent to 31,202, the highest since NFHA began producing the annual Fair Housing Trends Report in 1995.
  • Private fair housing groups continue to process more complaints, 75 percent, than all government agencies combined.
  • Hate crime offenses increased by an alarming 14.7 percent
  • Increased scrutiny of sexual harassment in housing has led to an unprecedented number of cases against housing providers who prey on vulnerable residents who cannot move to a new location because of the lack of affordable housing options.

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:
National Origin
Familial Status
State and local laws may additional protections. For example, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act also prohibits discrimination based on: 
The use of a guide or support animal because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the user or because the user is a handler or trainer of support or guide animals

The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In very limited circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent, and housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.

In the Sale and Rental of Housing:
It is illegal discrimination to take any of the following actions because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin:
• Refuse to rent or sell housing
• Refuse to negotiate for housing
• Otherwise make housing unavailable
• Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
• Provide a person different housing services or facilities
• Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale or rental
• Make, print or publish any notice, statement or advertisement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination
• Impose different sales prices or rental charges for the sale or rental of a dwelling
• Use different qualification criteria or applications, or sale or rental standards or procedures, such as income standards, application requirements, application fees, credit analyses, sale or rental approval procedures or other requirements
• Evict a tenant or a tenant’s guest
• Harass a person
• Fail or delay performance of maintenance or repairs
• Limit privileges, services or facilities of a dwelling
• Discourage the purchase or rental of a dwelling
• Assign a person to a particular building or neighborhood or section of a building or neighborhood
• For profit, persuade, or try to persuade, homeowners to sell their homes by suggesting that people of a particular protected characteristic are about to move into the neighborhood (blockbusting)
• Refuse to provide or discriminate in the terms or conditions of homeowners insurance because of the race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin of the owner and/or occupants of a dwelling
• Deny access to or membership in any multiple listing service or real estate brokers’ organization
In Mortgage Lending:
It is illegal discrimination to take any of the following actions based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin:
• Refuse to make a mortgage loan or provide other financial assistance for a dwelling
• Refuse to provide information regarding loans
• Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees
• Discriminate in appraising a dwelling
• Condition the availability of a loan on a person’s response to harassment
• Refuse to purchase a loan
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to harass persons because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. Among other things, this forbids sexual harassment. 
Other Prohibitions:
In addition, it is illegal discrimination to:
• Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise the right
• Retaliate against a person who has filed a fair housing complaint or assisted in a fair housing investigation

Housing providers must make reasonable accommodations and allow reasonable modifications that may be necessary to allow persons with disabilities to enjoy their housing.
Certain multifamily housing must be accessible to persons with disabilities.