Federal Fair Housing laws protect people from discrimination and promote equal access to rental housing and homeownership opportunities for virtually all housing in the United States. The City of Brooklyn Park is committed to fair housing and has developed a policy to further that goal.
You can watch a video on fair housing laws in English, Spanish, Somali or Hmong here.
Who is protected by fair housing laws?
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:
- National Origin
- Familial Status
The Minnesota Human Rights Act (Statue 363A, available here) prohibits discrimination based on all the above characteristics and adds:
- Sexual or affectional orientation
- Marital status
- Status with regard to receipt of public assistance
What types of housing are covered?
The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In very limited circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent, and housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.
What actions are prohibited?
It is illegal discrimination to take any of the following actions because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin:
In the sale and rental of housing:
- Refuse or discourage the rental or sale of housing;
- Refuse to negotiate for housing;
- Make housing unavailable;
- Set different terms, conditions, privileges or qualification criteria for sale or rental of a dwelling;
- Provide a person different housing services or facilities;
- Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale or rental;
- Evict a tenant or a tenant’s guest;
- Harass a person;
- Fail or delay performance of maintenance or repairs;
- For profit, persuade, or try to persuade, homeowners to sell their homes by suggesting that people of a particular protected characteristic are about to move into the neighborhood (blockbusting); or
- Deny access to or membership in any multiple listing service or real estate brokers’ organization.
For more information and examples, visit Examples of Housing Discrimination.
In Mortgage Lending:
- Refuse to make a mortgage loan or provide other financial assistance for a dwelling;
- Refuse to provide information regarding loans;
- Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees;
- Discriminate in appraising a dwelling;
- Condition the availability of a loan on a person’s response to harassment; or
- Refuse to purchase a loan.
For more information about discrimination in mortgage lending, visit Fair Lending.
In addition, it is illegal discrimination to:
- Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise the right; or
- Retaliate against a person who has filed a fair housing complaint or assisted in a fair housing investigation.
More information on federal fair housing laws can be found here.
What if I have a disability?
Persons with disabilities have all the same protections listed above. In addition, your landlord 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.
See more on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s website here. The State of Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan also establishes key activities our state must accomplish to ensure people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else.
If I believe my fair housing rights have been violated, who can I contact for legal aid?
- Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid provides professional legal help to Minnesotans who traditionally lack access to the American justice system and cannot afford the services of a private attorney. More information is available at www.mylegalaid.org.
- Home Line Tenant Hotline.
PH: 612-728-5767 or 866-866-3546
- Hennepin County Courts offers free legal advice through their “Legal Access Point Clinics.” For clinic hours, visit mncourts.gov/Help-Topics/Self-Help-Centers.aspx.
- Community Action Partnership, in collaboration with Volunteer Lawyers Network, has begun offering legal services clinics in suburban Hennepin County. For dates and times, visit the Volunteer Lawyers Network website.
- Minnesota Attorney General’s Office
PH: 651-296-3353 or 800-657-3787
- Minnesota Department of Human Rights
TTY: 651-296-1283 or 800-657-3704
- Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services provides free, high-quality legal help to low-income people in critical civil matters. Their website is www.smrls.org.
Before contacting any of the above organizations to file a complaint, it would be beneficial to have the following information available:
- Your name and address;
- The name and address of the person/organization your complaint is against;
- The address of the housing involved;
- A short description of the event that caused you to believe your rights were violated; and
- The date(s) of the alleged violation.
If I believe my fair housing rights have been violated, how do I file a complaint?
Information on filing a fair housing complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development can be found here.
To file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, visit their website.
Who can I contact from the City of Brooklyn Park if I have questions?
Contact Kim Berggren, Director of Community Development, at 763-493-8050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Brooklyn Park does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability in the admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its services, programs or activities. Upon request, accommodation will be provided to allow individuals with disabilities to participate in all City services, programs and activities.