Like the federal law, state law prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of:
· Race or color
· National origin or ancestry
· Familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians; pregnant women and people securing custody of children under 18)
· Handicap (disability)
What Type of Housing Is Covered?
Most housing is covered under these laws. In some circumstances, the laws do exempt owner-occupied housing with no more than one renter, housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members, and post-secondary educational institutions that provide separate housing facilities for either male or female students, as long as no person is denied equal access.
What Is Prohibited?
· Refusing to rent or sell housing
· Refusing to negotiate for housing
· Making housing unavailable
· Denying a dwelling
· Setting different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
· Providing different housing services or facilities
· Falsely denying that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
· For profit, persuading owners to sell or rent (blockbusting)
· Denying anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.
· Advertising for or against any class of people.
· Inquiring, in writing or orally, as to the race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, disability or ancestry of persons seeking housing.
· Discriminating in the financing of housing, including loans for purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing, or maintaining a home.
Fair Housing Protections for People with Disabilities
If you or someone in your family:
· Have a physical or mental disability (including hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex and mental retardation) that substantially limits one or more major life activities
· Have a record of such a disability or
· Are regarded as having such a disability
Your housing provider may not:
· Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing. (Where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move.)
· Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing.
Example: A building with a "no pets" policy must allow a visually impaired tenant to keep a guide dog.
Example: An apartment complex that offers tenants unassigned parking must honor a request from a mobility-impaired tenant for a reserved space near her apartment if necessary to assure that she can have access to her apartment.
However, housing need not be made available to a person who is a direct threat to the health or safety of others or who currently uses illegal drugs.
Accessibility Requirements for New Buildings
In buildings that are ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, and have an elevator and four or more units:
· Public and common areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities
· Doors and hallways must be wide enough for wheelchairs
All units must have:
· An accessible route into and through the unit
· Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls
· Reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars and
· Kitchens and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs.
If a building with four or more units has no elevator and will be ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, these standards apply to ground floor units.
These requirements for new buildings do not replace any more stringent standards in State or local law.
May include the sale or rental of the housing which was denied; compensatory or punitive damages; affirmative relief in which the owner may be required to take steps to prevent future discrimination (such as displaying a fair housing poster, training managers in fair housing laws, or advertising vacancies in targeted newspapers). Remedies under the Unruh Act can include actual damages, punitive damages and attorney's fees.
In Florida, the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) is the administrative agency that enforces these laws. FCHR has full powers to investigate, conciliate and take a case through an administrative hearing process. The FCHR conducts hearings and issues orders enforceable by the Supreme Court.
More information about Florida Fair Housing
The primary state fair housing laws are the Florida Civil Rights Act Chapter 760.
For more information about fair housing in Florida visit our Resources page.