FAIR HOUSING AND RELIGION
WHAT IS HOUSING DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF RELIGION?
Tenants are protected against religious discrimination whether they consider themselves to be members of a particular religion or none at all. This prohibition covers instances of overt discrimination against members of a particular religion as well as less direct actions, such as zoning ordinances designed to limit the use of private homes as a place of worship. Landlords also cannot take legal action against tenants or penalize them in any way because they disapprove of their religious involvement or affiliation
Most advertisements that specify preference or restrictions based on religion are also illegal.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE
Prioritizes applicants on their waiting list based on religion
Sets different rents for tenants based on religion
Prohibits the display of religious items such as a mezuzah
Steers tenants of a certain religion to apartments in one area of their building
Prioritizes repair requests based on a tenant’s religion
Makes exceptions to rules or offers amenities only to tenants of certain religions
Considers a tenant’s religion before pursuing eviction
ARE THERE EXCEPTIONS
The Act does contain a limited exception that allows non-commercial housing operated by a religious organization to reserve such housing to persons of the same religion. However, the residency in the buildings must have a purpose other than money-making. The laws also require that, in order to use this exception, religion cannot restrict membership on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
The laws against religious discrimination also make an exception for a home in which the landlord resides and rents out only one room (however, it is still illegal to discriminate based on race or national origin or to make discriminatory statements in advertising).
If you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination because of your religious involvement or affiliation. Please contact us for assistance.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD) RESOURCES
OTHER NATIONAL RESOURCES:
RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING - Fair Housing Project of Legal Aid of North Carolina
Religion — Fair Housing Project - Legal Aid North Carolina
National Fair Housing Alliance Comments on the Religious Liberty Protection Act of 1999 - HR 1691 - ACLU Website
Fact Sheet: Religious Discrimination - US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission