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Under the Florida Fair Housing Act, it’s illegal for landlords, brokers, real estate agents, or banks to deny anyone housing or mortgage financing based on race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status, or religion.
The 1968 Fair Housing Act was a major triumph of the Civil Rights movement. Protecting renters and homebuyers in all 50 states, this crucial federal law continues to change. As recently as 2021, protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation became a part of the FHA’s guarantee.
Although the Fair Housing Act protects renters and homebuyers in all 50 states, the process of filing a complaint may be different based on your location. Homeowners, renters, and car insurance super app Jerry is here with all the info and tips you need to assert your right to fair housing in Florida.
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Does Florida have a Fair Housing Act?
Yes! You’ll find the Fair Housing Act in Chapter 760 of the Florida Statutes. Until this section of state law, it’s illegal to do any of the following in the state of Florida on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status, or religion:
- Refuse to rent or sell a property following a bona fide offer
- Falsely claim that housing isn’t available
- Print or publish any notice or advertisement that indicates a preference for one group over another
- Impose different conditions on a rental agreement, housing contract, or loan
- Refuse a mortgage application
- Refuse to make reasonable changes to accommodate a disability
Although age isn’t one of the core protected categories under the Florida Fair Housing Act, it’s also illegal to deny housing to a family with children under 18 except in a 55+ housing community.
The regulations of the Fair Housing Act apply to anyone selling or renting property in Florida, along with real estate agents, banks, brokers, developers, and more. If you feel that any of these individuals have violated your right to fair housing under the terms of the Act, you can file an inquiry with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act
Section 760.23 also lays out accessibility requirements for fair housing in Florida. Any multifamily dwelling intended for occupancy before March 13, 1991, is required to meet certain standards of accessibility, which include:
- At least one accessible entrance unless the terrain prevents it
- Doors wide enough for wheelchair users to pass through
- Kitchens and bathrooms laid out for wheelchair users
- Light switches, thermostats, and outlets in accessible locations
- Reinforced bathroom walls able to support a grab bar
If your home doesn’t meet these requirements, or if your landlord refuses to make reasonable changes to the home to accommodate your disability, you may file a complaint under the Fair Housing Act.
How to file a fair housing complaint in Florida
So you applied for an apartment but got turned down despite meeting all the landlord’s requirements. Or maybe you went to a real estate open house, but the agent claimed the property wasn’t for sale—even though you saw them showing it to another family right before you showed up.
If you suspect that your race, national origin, sex, disability, or religion made you a target for housing discrimination, you can report the landlord or agent and try to claim damages through a fair housing inquiry.
Here’s how to do it:
- Write, call, or visit the Florida Commission on Human Relations within one year of the incident
- File an inquiry with the Housing Unit
- Fill out the Technical Assistance Questionnaire on Housing Complaints (not mandatory, but highly recommended) and mail or fax it to the FCHR
You also have the option to report directly to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Commission will work with HUD to investigate your case. This is where that questionnaire comes in handy—if you fill it out, you’ll be arming the investigation with more information to pursue possible remedies, including:
- Court costs and attorney fees
- Injunctions or restraining orders
State agency vs. local offices
In most cases, reporting to the FCHR is the best way to deal with housing discrimination in Florida. However, some jurisdictions have their own local agencies to address fair housing inquiries. If you live in one of these jurisdictions, here’s the agency you’ll need to go to:
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No matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ve got a right to fair housing in the Sunshine State. And no matter what challenges you face in your search for the perfect landing place, you can find the most affordable insurance to protect that home with help from Jerry.
Jerry’s more than a super app for car owners—it’s also a licensed insurance broker and the #1 rated insurance app on the app store. In just 45 seconds, you can enter your information in the app and find out whether you’re overpaying for homeowners or renters insurance. If you’re also paying for car insurance, Jerry’s team of experts can even help you find the perfect bundle to save money on multiple policies!
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How do I report a landlord in Florida?
To report your landlord for unfair housing practices in Florida, call the Florida Commission on Human Relations at 1-800-342-8170. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Commission at 4075 Esplanade Way, Room 110, Tallahassee, FL 32399.