Local, state and federal laws are in place to make housing free of discrimination. The laws safeguard the rights of protected classes. That includes people who have special needs due to their disabilities.

Laws are in place that protect you and your family members who need special accommodations for housing, insurance, rentals or sales. It is important to understand when and how the protections apply.

Fair housing laws apply to most apartments and mobile home parks. They also apply for most nonprofit and nursing homes. They do not apply to all situations. That includes owner-occupied buildings with four or fewer units.

The laws also do not apply to housing sold or rented without a broker. Private clubs and organizations requiring membership also are also exempt.

Laws prohibit a variety of actions

The federal Fair Housing Act made discrimination against members of special classes illegal. There are protections, including protection against:

  • Refusal to rent or sell housing.
  • Denials access to a facility
  • Discriminatory advertising
  • Illegal sales/rental terms, conditions or privileges.
  • Intimidating or threatening someone who is exercising their fair housing rights.
  • Unfair negotiations for housing rentals/sales.

Pennsylvania’s Human Rights Act expanded protections. Our state’s act makes it illegal not to allow trainers or owners of assistance animals to live in a building.

Reasonable accommodations and modifications

Landlords must have reasonable practices, policies, rules and service accommodations in most situations. Buildings that have a no pets policies must allow service dogs. They also make reserved parking available for mobility-impaired tenants if it can be reasonably accomplished.

If you or a family member has a disability, civil rights are in place to protect you. Do not let a landlord or a property manager discriminate against you.