• Fair Housing

    The City of Racine is committed to affirmatively furtherig fair housing and complying with state and federal fair housing laws.  These laws prohibit discrimination against a persons race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and disability.

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    What does the Fair Housing Department do?

    The Fair Housing Department provides fair housing (anti-discrimination) investigative and enforcement services from its office in City Hall. Fair Housing also conducts educational seminars for housing consumers and members of the housing industry, and provides legal referrals through the Lawyer Referral Service. Fair Housing's office receives funding from local cities and counties and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP).

    What is housing discrimination?

    Federal and state laws prohibit housing discrimination. It is illegal to deny housing to an individual on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, familial status (i.e., presence of children), marital status, sexual orientation, or disability. It is also illegal to treat an in-place tenant any differently than other tenants on the basis of any of the above group characteristics. It is important to know your rights, to recognize if your rights are being violated, and to know what you can do to take action.

    How do I spot signs of housing discrimination?

    Signs of housing discrimination include: 

    • The rent or deposit cited is higher than advertised;
    • The manager says that the unit has already been rented, but the sign or ad is still posted;
    • You are told, "You wouldn't like it here" or "There's no place for your children to play";
    • The owner enforces an unreasonable occupancy limit, such as three people in a two-bedroom apartment;
    • The manager says that the rent will increase depending on the number of people residing in the unit;
    • Rules are enforced for some tenants and not others based on a group characteristic;
    • Repairs are only made for tenants of a certain ethnicity.

     

    Examples of possible housing discrimination include when owners or agents: 

    • Ask questions or record information regarding an applicant's race, national origin, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or number of occupants who will be children;
    • Publish ads for housing which indicate preferencs such as "adults only";
    • Engage in "steering" (i.e. limiting your choices to a certain neighborhood or part of the complex because of your group characteristic);
    • Terminate a tenancy for a reason related to a person's group characteristic;
    • Refyse to rent a person with a disability who uses a service animal because the owner has a policy prohibiting tenants from keeping pets;
    • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services for people with disabilities;
    • Refuse to allow a tenant with a disability to make reasonable modifications (at the tenant's expense) to a dwelling or building.

     

     It is legal for a landlord to refuse to rent to an applicant with: 

    • A bad credit history;
    • A househould income that does not meet reasonable income requirements;
    • A past history of not paying rent or of running an illegal business on residential premises;
    • Any other legitimate business reason.

     

    How can Fair Housing help?

    If you suspect discrimination, you do not have to take a simple "No." However, do not act angry or threaten to sue. Instead, write down the following information, if available: 

    • Name of the manager or agent
    • Address of site
    • Apartment number
    • Number of bedrooms
    • Personal information requested of you and information you volunteered
    • Requirements for occupancy
    • Availibility of unit and how you found the unit

     

    Then call Fair Housing at: (262) 636-9595 

    Fair Housing can do the following things: 

    • Discuss your problem with you
    • Counsel you on the fair housing laws
    • Investigate your fair housing complaint (usually through paired testing) if appropriate
    • Explain your options
    • Negotiate with the owner or manager
    • Inform the owner or manager of the law
    • Refer you to a state or federal enforcement agency
    • Refer you to a fair housing attorney for legal assistance
           
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