You’ve heard the term fair housing, but what does it mean when you’re buying or leasing property? Here’s how the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs explains it:
The Federal Fair Housing Act refers to Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. This Act, in addition to the Texas Fair Housing Act, protects your right to rent an apartment, buy a home, obtain a mortgage, or purchase homeowners insurance free from discrimination based on:
  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial status
  • Disability.
Most of those categories are self-explanatory, but how about familial status? That means that you may not be discriminated against because your household includes children under age 18 living with a parent or legal guardian, a person who has legal custody or seeking legal custody of a child or children, or a woman who is pregnant. (The exception to this rule is a development or community that qualifies as housing for older people.) Discrimination can take forms other than being denied housing. For example, if a landlord requires families to live on certain floors of an apartment building or charges extra for children, that could qualify as a violation of fair-housing laws. Visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website for more answers to your questions about fair housing.