National Origin

Immigration & Refugee Status

 

FAIR HOUSING AND NATIONAL ORIGIN, IMMIGRATION, & REFUGEE STATUS

In the U.S., local, state and federal fair housing laws prohibit discrimination against a person because of their national origin in housing-related transactions. Fair housing laws protect people regardless of their immigration status. Different treatment in housing because of a person’s ancestry, ethnicity, birthplace, culture, or language is illegal. This means that people cannot be denied housing opportunities or treated differently because they or their family are from another country because they have a name or accent associated with a national origin group, because they participate in certain customs associated with a national origin group, or because they are married to or associate with people of a certain national origin. Sometimes national origin discrimination can include or overlap with discrimination because of race, color, or religion. 

 

WHAT DOES NATIONAL ORIGIN, IMMIGRATION, OR REFUGEE STATUS DISCRIMINATION LOOK LIKE?

  • Refusing to rent to you because you or some of your family members do not speak English; 

  • Forcing you to choose an apartment near other people who are from the same country, speak the same language as you, or are of the same religion as you; 

  • Enforcing rules against you or your family because you are an immigrant or refugee or because of your religion but not enforcing those rules against anyone else. 

  • Refusing to rent to you or show you a home that is for rent or sale because you are an immigrant or refugee from a particular country or because of your religious faith; 

  • Charging you more rent or a higher security deposit because of where you are from; 

  • Denying you housing because you are not a US citizen; 

  • Requiring you to get a cosigner because you are an immigrant, refugee from a particular country, or because of your religion.

  • A public housing authority refuses to provide a translator or provide documents in alternative languages upon request.

  • A landlord or real estate agent asking you to identify your religion. 

  • A  landlord or real estate agent asking you questions about your immigration status because of how you look, talk or dress.

  • The owner or management fails to take action within their power to stop harassment by an employee or agent.

Harassment or threats include a housing provider doing any of the following: 

  • Saying you will be deported; 

  • Telling you to go back to your own country;

  • Painting graffiti or writing on your home, including using slurs or threats to harm you or your family if you do not move out; 

  • Yelling racial, ethnic, or religious slurs at you and your family; 

 

If you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination because you are an immigrant or a refugee, because of where you are from, or because of your religious faith, please contact us for assistance.

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RESOURCES
US DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD) RESOURCES:

  • Guidance on Fair Housing Act Protections for Persons with Limited English Proficiency - HUD Guidance - September 16, 2016

  • LEP Final Guidance - FAQs | HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) - dated January 22, 2007 

  • Afghan Refugee and Parolees FAQ Housing Providers and Fair Housing:  FAQs On Fair Housing Issues Regarding Exceptions To Credit Check Policies And Occupancy Limits, Affirmative Marketing, And Language Access

 

OTHER NATIONAL RESOURCES:

  • Federal Protections Against National Origin Discrimination - US DOJ Federal Laws  - Updated August 6, 2015

  • RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AND HOUSING OUTCOMES IN THE UNITED STATES RENTAL MARKET  - NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH - November 2021

  • Combating Post-9/11 Discriminatory Backlash - US DOJ Initiative   - Updated August 6, 2015

  • FAIR HOUSING LAWS PROTECT IMMIGRANTS, REFUGEES, AND PEOPLE OF ALL RELIGIOUS FAITHS   - NFHA Fact Sheet- February 2017

  • Fair Housing - How to Deal with Discrimination | The Administration for Children and Families - US Dept of Health and Human Services - September 2012

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NEW YORK STATE RESOURCES:

  • Immigration Status, Housing Discrimination, and Tenant Harassment Frequently Asked Questions - NYS HCR - June 2017

  • Immigrant Tenant Rights -A Guide to Tenant Protections Against Harassment and Discrimination -  NYS Attorney General's Office 2021

  • New York Housing Rights for Foreign-Born Tenants - NYS HCR Flier

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OTHER RESOURCES:

  • FAIR HOUSING REVIEW: IMMIGRATION STATUS - Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania

  • Podcast: National Origin Discrimination in Housing is Illegal | Pine Tree Legal Assistance Illegal Immigrants, Rentals and Fair Housing Discrimination - E. Sumber April 2009