Recent Changes in Fair Housing Laws Landlords Should Know

Landlords need to be aware of the fair housing laws, both at the federal and state levels. Recent changes in these laws have occurred at an alarming rate, making it increasingly difficult for landlords to stay abreast of their obligations. This article will provide an overview of the recent changes in fair housing laws that landlords should be aware of.

What Is the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status. It applies to all new construction and existing housing, both rental and ownership.

Prohibited Discrimination Under the Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against prospective tenants or homeowners based on any of the following characteristics:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Familial Status

In addition, many states have laws that prohibit discrimination based on additional characteristics such as age, sexual orientation, and marital status.

Recent Changes in Fair Housing Laws

As the Fair Housing Laws are constantly evolving, it’s important for landlords to stay up to date on the latest changes. Here are some of the most recent changes landlords should be aware of:

Removal of Pet Restrictions

In October 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a rule to prohibit landlords from denying housing to people who have service animals. This applies to individuals with disabilities who have animals that perform certain tasks to assist them. The rule also prohibits landlords from charging pet deposits or additional rent for service animals.

Broadening of Disability Definitions

In March 2020, HUD issued a rule that greatly expands the definition of “disability” under the Fair Housing Act. The new rule extends the definition to include individuals who have a “record of disability” or are “regarded as having a disability”. This will significantly expand the pool of individuals eligible for protection under the Fair Housing Act, and landlords should be aware of the changes when screening potential tenants.

Elimination of Source of Income Discrimination

In January 2020, HUD issued a new rule that requires landlords to accept all types of legally-sourced income, including Section 8 vouchers, Social Security benefits, pensions, and veterans benefits. The new rule prohibits landlords from rejecting potential tenants solely on the basis of their source of income.


Recent changes to the Fair Housing Laws have made it increasingly important for landlords to stay up to date on the latest regulations. With the new rules that have been put in place by HUD, landlords will need to make sure they understand all of their obligations under the law. By familiarizing yourself with the recent changes in fair housing laws, you can ensure that you are providing a safe and equitable environment for your tenants and abiding by all applicable laws.

What are the fair housing laws for landlords in the US?

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in renting or selling housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and any other characteristic listed in state or local discrimination laws. Landlords must not refuse to rent or sell to someone based on these protected classes. In addition, landlords must provide accessible housing for those with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Many states and localities have expanded on the federal laws and provide additional protections for tenants, so it is important to check local statutes. Landlords must also comply with anti-discrimination laws regarding advertising, applicants’ records, processing applications, and more.

What is the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law passed in 1968 that prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status. The Act prohibits discrimination in all aspects of housing such as renting, selling, and financing housing. It also covers advertising, zoning, and other activities related to housing. The law also requires that housing providers make reasonable accommodations and modifications for people with disabilities. The Fair Housing Act applies to all housing transactions, including private landlords, public housing agencies, real estate agents, and mortgage lenders.

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