The road to civil liberties and rights for those with disabilities has been a long one.  Over the next few weeks, we will highlight some of the most influential Federal civil rights law that ensures equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities.

 The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination for housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin. This includes private housing, housing that receives Federal financial assistance, as well as State and local government housing.

The act states that is unlawful to discriminate the process of buying, renting or financing a home because of a disability, and this include discrimination by direct providers of housing, such as landlords and real estate companies.

If an individual has a physical or mental that limits one or more major life activities the landlord may not refuse to let the tenant make reasonable modifications to the dwelling or common use areas if necessary for the individual who is disabled to use the housing. Additionally, the landlord cannot be unwilling to to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing.

This can include not allowing a tenant to keep a guide dog because of the building’s no-pet policy. Another example is an apartment complex that offers tenants unassigned parking must honor a request from a mobility-impaired tenant for a reserved space near their apartment if necessary to assure that they can have access to their apartment.

For more information: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/hce/title8.php

Disability Law Series: The Fair Housing Act | The Independence Center