Fair Housing Law

Housing Discrimination is more than a refusal to rent, sell or finance housing.

black woman holding infant

With few exceptions, Federal and State law prohibits the following acts when based on
sex (including sexual harassment, pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity)
national origin (including immigration status)
familial status (the presence of children under the age of 18)
marital status:

  • Steering people and families to or away from a particular neighborhood or a certain part of an apartment complex;
  • Charging a higher security deposit or offering different terms and conditions, use of facilities, or other services associated with the rental, sale or financing of housing;
  • Having different qualifying standards, such as closer scrutiny of credit history for some groups while bending the rules for others;
  • Saying that housing is not available to view, buy, or rent when it is in fact available;
  • Sexual harassment by an owner or agent;
  • Delay or denial of a loan based on maternity leave status;
  • Denying a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability (including restricting animal breed for emotional support and service animals);
  • Harassment of buyers or renters who are exercising their fair housing rights;
  • Harassment of sellers, rental agents, or real estate agents who refuse to discriminate.

Learn more – view our Fair Housing Fact Sheets

black and white women, lesbian couple


Title VIII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1968 is commonly referred to as the Federal Fair Housing Act. This federal law, as amended in 1974 and 1988, protects each individual’s right to equal housing opportunity without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including sexual harassment, sexual orientation, and gender identity), disability, and/or familial status (the presence of children). Visit our History of Fair Housing Law page for further details.

In Michigan, housing discrimination is prohibited by the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act. State law includes all federal protections and adds age, marital status, weight, and height.

white woman in wheelchair with service dog

Local ordinances provide added protection against discrimination based on (Adrian) sexual orientation, gender identity, and AIDS or HIV status; (Ann Arbor) arrest record, educational association, family responsibilities, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information,  HIV status, marital status, national origin, political beliefs, sexual orientation, source of income, veteran status, victim of domestic violence or stalking; (Howell) sexual orientation and gender identity; (East Lansing) sexual orientation, student status, use of adaptive devices or aids, or legal source of income; (Jackson) gender identity, sexual orientation, and source of income; (Lansing) student status, veteran status, political affiliation or belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or source of income; and (Ypsilanti) immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, educational association, source of income, and felony or misdemeanor conviction (unless there is a direct relationship between the conviction offense and the housing, the job, the opportunity or unless hiring or accepting the person would create an unreasonable risk to property or safety).

white woman receiving alarming text on cell phone

Other Issues

Criminal background

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (LGBTQ)

Immigration and Refugee Status

black and white men protesting for civil rights

Questions? Call us at 877-979-FAIR or email info@fhcmichigan.org