Fair Housing / Apartment Hunting
Introduction > Take the Test > Fair Housing > Apartment Hunting > Housing Resources
Major Provisions of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988
The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 establishes an administrative enforcement mechanism, provides stiffer penalties than the present act, and expands its coverage to include disabled persons and families with children. The act, among its more important provisions:
- bars discrimination in the sale or rental of housing on the basis of a disability, and requires the design and construction of new covered multifamily dwellings to meet certain adaptability and accessibility requirements
- bars discrimination in the sale or rental of housing because there are children in a family, but exempts housing for older persons, e.g., Section 202 housing
- modifies the definition of a discriminatory housing practice to include acts of interfering, coercing, threatening or intimidating a person in the exercise or enjoyment of his/her rights as protected by Sections 804, 805 and 806 of this act
- provides HUD with the ability to initiate complaints
- gives an aggrieved person one year after an alleged discriminatory housing practice in which to file a complaint with HUD, and two years to file a complaint in court
- requires HUD to complete a Title VIII investigation and conciliation efforts within 100 days after the filing of the complaint, unless it is impracticable to do so. HUD can also seek preliminary or temporary relief including temporary restraining orders where such actions are necessary to carry out the purpose of the law
- gives HUD new enforcement authority for handling complaints of discrimination in the sale or rental of housing
- if after investigation HUD finds reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the department issues a charge on behalf of the aggrieved person
- after HUD issues a charge, the parties have the option to elect the forum, i.e., the option of a proceeding before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) with an appeal to a federal appeals court, or a trial in federal district court. The election must be made not later than 20 days after service of the charge.
- if the administrative hearing is elected and discriminatory conduct is found, the ALJ is authorized to issue an order for relief as may be appropriate, including actionable damages and injunctive or other equitable relief and civil penalties. The ALJ's order maybe reviewed by HUD within 30 days after issuance; otherwise, the order becomes final.
- if a jury trial is elected, the complainant will be represented by an attorney from the U.S. Department of Justice. In these cases, the relief that may be granted includes permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order or other relief including monetary damages and civil penalties.
- expands Department of Justice (DOJ) litigation authority from pattern and practice cases to include individual acts of discrimination
- the authority of DOJ to commence a civil action for appropriate relief with respect to breach of a conciliation agreement is clarified.
- on those civil actions handled by DOJ, the relief that may be granted includes permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order or other relief including monetary damages and civil penalties.
- DOJ may intervene in a private action if the case is of general public importance
- provides that any state or local fair housing agency may become certified if HUD determines that (1) the substantive rights protected by the agency, (2) the procedures followed, (3) the remedies available and (4) the availability of judicial review are substantially equivalent to that of Title VIII
- state and local agencies certified, prior to enactment of the act, will be grand fathered into the referral process for up to 40 months (which the secretary may, in certain circumstances, extend for 8 additional months). This certification does not apply to referral of cases received under the two new protected classes. (Note: the term "certified" includes all fully recognized and interim referral status agencies).
- clarifies that federal agencies with regulatory supervisory authority for financial institutions, e.g., FDIC, are also required to cooperate with HUD by administering their programs in a manner to affirmatively further fair housing
- requires HUD to prepare an annual report to the congress on progress in eliminating housing discrimination
- requires HUD to make data available to the public on the race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, and family characteristics of persons and households eligible for or assisted by HUD programs
- requires HUD to issue regulations implementing this act within 180 days of enactment
Housing services that are currently offered by all the centers for independent living are listed below. As an established part of their program, they:
- provide outreach assistance to distribute information and materials
- identify persons with disabilities who need housing and make referrals
- provide technical assistance in development and construction of barrier free designs
- supply housing data from specific surveys and ongoing assessment
- provide training to persons with disabilities to facilitate their efforts to live independently and maintain a housing unit
- provide counseling to persons with disabilities, regarding their responsibilities in housing
- offer consultation services to support the development of accessible housing resources
Service animals as a reasonable accommodation
One of the areas of disability discrimination that generates many calls to the HUD office is the subject of service animals for persons with disabilities. Housing providers who have "no pets" policies must make a reasonable accommodation to a person with disabilities whose physician has determined that an animal would be beneficial to the treatment and well being of their patient.
If a tenant with a disability provides the housing provider with a written statement from the tenant's treating physician stating that the tenant is under his/her care, and the tenant's mental or physical condition would benefit from having a service animal, the housing provider must allow such animal.
The housing provider may not charge a pet fee, if you feel you are subject to, animal housing discrimination against persons with disabilities, you may contact Carole Boster in the West Virginia HUD office at 304-347-5216, 504 Capitol Street, Suite 708, Charleston, WV 25301.
Next: Legal Structural Accessibility Requirements