The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) plans to announce Wednesday that it has reached agreements with the owners and managers of two Berlin, N.H., properties, to settle allegations that they engaged in housing discrimination for refusing to rent to a woman who was a victim of domestic violence.
Although most know that the Fair Housing Act from 1968, and the amendments and executive orders that followed, protect against discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability, it may come as a surprise that victims of domestic violence are covered as well. It is a violation of the act to treat victims of domestic violence differently than victims of any other crime.
“These individuals are being victimized twice,” Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity told She the People — first by the aggressor and then by a landlord who is refusing to renew a lease or threatening to evict. He called the situation both “immoral and illegal,” and said that “HUD remains committed to ensuring and promoting fair housing opportunities for women and men alike.”
He advised those who believe they have experienced discrimination to file a complaint at HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at[no phone numbers allowed] (voice) or[no phone numbers allowed] (TTY), or to go to hud.gov. Other options include a local, private or nonprofit fair housing agency.