blue title bar


Your Guide to Fair Housing: Know your rights when renting, buying, financing or insuring a home


If you believe you have been discriminated against or have questions about fair housing, contact:

State and/or federal laws prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of:

  • Race or Color  
  • Religion
  • Familial status  
  • National origin
  • Sex            
  • Disability
  • Age          
  • Marital status

Fair housing laws protect your rights when you:

  • View or purchase a home.
  • View or rent an apartment or other living facility.
  • Obtain financing, such as a mortgage or home improvement loan.
  • Insure your home or apartment.

Fair housing laws ban discrimination in:

  • Terms and conditions for buying or renting a home.
  • Advertising and marketing housing.
  • Providing housing services.

State and federal laws also prohibit:

  • Steering: directing renters or home buyers to particular neighborhoods based on race or ethnicity.
  • Predatory lending: marketing less favorable home loans to persons based on a protected characteristic.

You should know:
It is unlawful to retaliate against a person for filing a civil rights complaint or being a witness in a civil rights investigation.


Housing discrimination is usually disguised, often with a smile and a handshake. Although some of the following statements may seem reasonable, they could be excuses to prevent you from renting an apartment, buying a home or getting financing or insurance. 

Pay close attention when you hear statements like:

When you are renting - 

  • “I rented that apartment right after you called.”
  • “Yes, we rent to families with children, but our children’s section is full.”
  •  “We have a long waiting list.”

When you are buying - 

  • “Let me show you some homes in an area where you’ll be more comfortable.”
  • “The owner just took the house off the market.”
  • “I’ll have to pre-qualify you before I show you any homes."

When you want financing -

  • “We don’t process mortgages that small.”
  •  “You might get better terms at another bank.”
  •  “We don’t sell insurance in your area.”

Some of these comments may be valid, but they also may be used as a pretext to discriminate.


State and federal laws require housing providers to make reasonable accommodations that are necessary and related to a person’s disability, such as:

  • Allowing a service or support animal in a no-pet complex.
  • Assigning parking.
  • Making exceptions to rules or policies.

Housing providers are also required to allow modifications to the property that are related to a person’s disability, such as installing ramps, grab bars or visual smoke detectors. These structural modifications:

  • May be at the tenant’s expense. 
  • May require the housing provider to approve the plans. 
  • May require the tenant to return the property to its original condition when moving out.


If you believe you have been discriminated against or have questions about fair housing, contact:


Download the "Your Guide to Fair Housing" brochure by clicking on the images below:

MDCR: Your Guide to Fair Housing MDCR: Your Guide to Fair Housing, Spanish version
English Español


ASL Video: