What is Housing Discrimination?

Housing discrimination is treating people differently in housing transactions based on their protected class status, and / or making decisions about housing eligibility based on an applicant's protected class:

Federal Fair Housing - Protected Classes


  • Disability, including people with HIV / AIDS and people in recovery from alcohol / drugs
  • Race / Color
  • Religion
  • Sex - includes protection against sexual harassment
  • Familial Status - presence of children under the age of 18 and / or pregnancy
  • National Origin

Fair Housing - Montana Protected Classes


  • Marital Status
  • Creed
  • Age

Examples of Housing Discrimination


    • Refusing to sell, rent or deal with a particular person based only on their protected class.
    • Falsely denying that a rental unit is available to applicants in a protected class.
    • Setting more restrictive standards, such as higher income, for tenants in a protected class.
    • Refusing to accommodate the needs of a tenant with a disability, such as not allowing an Assistance Animal.
    • Steering - the practice of directing people to more 'appropriate' neighborhoods.
    • Setting different terms, conditions or privileges for any housing transaction.
    • Advertising housing as being available only to certain people. For example, 'Adults Only - No Children Allowed'.
    • Harassing, coercing, intimidating or interfering with a person's ability to exercise fair housing rights.
    • Refusing to let a disabled person make reasonable modifications to a dwelling.
    • Charging an additional security deposit or additional monthly fees for having an Assistance Animal.

    Fair Housing Education


    The City has recently sponsored a grant to provide fair housing educational information to the public. Resources include brochures and articles and a list of organizations providing fair housing assistance.



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    The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.