What is Fair Housing?
Fair Housing means you may freely choose a place to live without regard to race, sex, religion, handicap, familial status (having one or more children), age, or national origin. Fair Housing is a right protected by federal, state and local laws. Housing discrimination is against the law.
What practices are protected under the law?
Refusal to sell, rent or lease because of race, sex, religion, handicap, familial status, age, or national origin. Discriminatory advertising, terms or conditions in providing services in connection with the sale or rental of housing. Blockbusting or frightening people into moving out of a neighborhood, is also illegal.
What If I've Been Discriminated Against?
Contact Garland Fair Housing Services at 972-205-3300 or visit us at 210 Carver Drive, Suite 102A, Garland, TX, 75040
What does housing discrimination look like?
You are being discriminated against if you experience any of the following:
Based upon your race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, handicap or family size:
- No one can refuse to rent, sell or negotiate housing with you.
- No one can set different terms or conditions for the sale or rental of a dwelling.
- No one can refuse to make a mortgage loan.
- No one can refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to a dwelling to accommodate your handicap.
- No one can threaten or intimidate you for exercising your right to fair housing, or assisting others to exercise their right.
What can housing discrimination feel like?
There are many possible scenarios. For example, you look for housing in a particular neighborhood. You are discouraged, and directed to another part of town. You may be told that you are too late, too soon, too old, or have too many children. You may hear all kinds of reasons.
You may even believe what you hear. But, inside, you know something does not feel right. You begin to feel like you are rejected because or your age, ethnicity, physical disability, religious attire, or marital status. If this is the situation, you know what it feels like to be denied housing. What you may not know is that in the United States housing discrimination is against the law.
What can you do about housing discrimination?
The first thing you do is do something about it. By remaining silent, you lose and the lawbreakers win. By accepting their discrimination, they continue to discriminate against others.
The City of Garland has trained staff to help you when you have experienced unfair treatment while trying to rent or buy housing.
If you or those you care about have been discriminated against by unfair housing practices, the law-breakers can be stopped. Bilingual services are available in Spanish and English. Vietnamese and Korean bilingual services are by appointment only. For more information, please call us at 972-205-3300.
Fair Housing Services
210 Carver Drive, Suite 102A
Garland, TX 75040
It's Only Fair and It's The Law.
Fair Housing Rights and You
The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that makes it illegal to deny housing, refuse to rent, sell, negotiate, or offer different terms and conditions because of the following protected classes:
- National Origin
- Familial Status
The City of Garland is one of only five fair Housing Agencies in Texas that has a Fair Housing Ordinance, which is 'substantially equivalent' to the federal act. The Garland Fair Housing Ordinance has included Age as a protected class to protect the rights of the large and growing senior population in Garland.
Garland Fair Housing Ordinance
It is the policy of the City of Garland, through fair, orderly, and lawful procedures, to promote the opportunity for each person to obtain housing without regard to race, color, sex, religion, handicap, familial status, age, or national origin. This policy is grounded upon a recognition of the rights of every person to have access to adequate housing of the person's own choice, and the denial of this right because of race, color, sex, religion, handicap, familial status, age, or national origin is detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the inhabitants of the City and constitutes an unjust deprivation of rights, which is within the power and proper responsibility of government to prevent.
Garland Fair Housing Services investigates claims of discrimination in housing based upon a protected class. Any person that feels they have been discriminated against in their pursuit of safe, sufficient housing of their choosing has the right to file a Fair Housing Complaint. If the property is in Garland, you can contact Garland Fair Housing Services at 972-205-3300. For properties outside of Garland, contact HUD Fair Housing at 817-978-5912.
If You Think Your Rights Have Been Violated
Fair Housing Services is ready to help with any problem of housing discrimination. If you think your rights have been violated, the Housing Discrimination Complaint Form is available for you to download, complete and return, or complete online and submit, or you may call 972-205-3300. You have one year after an alleged violation to file a complaint with HUD, but you should file it as soon as possible. You may also visit the HUD Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity Office, Fair Housing First, and Dallas Fair Housing Office websites for more information.
About Predatory Lending
Predatory lending refers to a variety of abusive lending practices that may occur singly or in combination: excessive or hidden fees, refinancing of loans at no benefit to the borrower, offering a loan knowing the borrower lacks the means to repay it, and using high-pressure sales tactics to sell a loan (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). It is usually undertaken by brokers, creditors, or even home improvement contractors. Most prevalent in the subprime mortgage market, borrowers typically use the collateral in their homes for debt consolidation or other consumer credit purposes.
While there is little information about the scope of predatory lending (Gramlich), it negatively impacts both individual borrowers and communities. Racial minorities, who may have trouble obtaining credit because of discrimination, are one target of predatory lenders. So are the elderly, who are income-poor but often have significant equity in their homes. (HUD 2003*). The outcomes of unfair lending practices are severe. Predatory lending is likely to lead to the borrower becoming delinquent in payments or even be faced with foreclosure. Predatory lending also harms more than the borrower. Efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and promote home ownership are weakened when foreclosed homes occur in a neighborhood (HUD 2000*).
Increasing consumer literacy about the basics of mortgage credit, how to shop among lenders, and how to best finance household debt is a necessary strategy for combating predatory lending. Nonprofit organizations play a significant role in educating borrowers before they take out a loan or a mortgage, counseling borrowers if they have trouble paying off a loan, and referring them to legal assistance if they have been a victim of a predatory loan. Consumer education is especially necessary for those who have little experience with the lending market.
Consumers are urged to know the characteristics of Predatory Lending to avoid being a victim of such unscrupulous act.
Basic Facts About the Fair Housing Act
View more information about the Fair Housing Act.