What You Need to Know About West Virginia’s Fair Housing Act

West Virginia’s Fair Housing Act provides protection against discrimination for a variety of factors.
Written by Elaine Yang
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
West Virginia
, housing cannot be denied on the following factors: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and the presence of children—all of which are protected classes.
The 1968 Fair Housing Act was a major win for Civil Rights Movement as it aimed to address discrimination during the housing process. While that this Act applies to all US states, the process for filing a housing discrimination complaint may differ depending on where you live. 
To help you through this complicated process,
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has created a thorough guide to West Virginia’s Fair Housing Act. Read on to learn about housing discrimination in West Virginia, accessibility requirements, how to file a complaint, and how to
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Does West Virginia have a Fair Housing Act?

Yes! Found in Chapter 5, Article 11A,
section 5
of the West Virginia Fair Housing Act, you’ll find the state’s prohibited housing practices, which includes the following: 
  • Refusing to rent or sell a property that had been previously listed after receiving a legitimate offer (this decision must be rooted in discriminatory practices to be illegal)
  • Using false pretenses to claim that a unit is no longer available 
  • Advertise a unit by indicating a clear preference for one group over another
  • Imposing unusual or different conditions in a lease 
  • Refusing a mortgage application 
  • Refusing to make reasonable changes to accommodate a disability
The Fair Housing Act applies to all parties who may have an impact on housing rentals, including but not limited to real estate agents, landlords, banks, brokers, and property developers. Throughout this process, if you think that you’ve been discriminated against, you can file a complaint with the
State of West Virginia Human Rights Commission

Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act

The West Virginia Fair Housing Act details
accessibility requirements
that property owners must uphold. 
1991 Fair Housing Act
built upon the 1968 Fair Housing Act by requiring landlords to grant their tenants reasonable accommodations and modifications, both of which are two different factors. 
A reasonable accommodation allows a tenant with a disability to request changes that would maximize the enjoyment of the property. These changes are typically related to a building’s rules, policies, practices, or services, and includes situations like: 
  • Service animals may be exempted from a building’s no-pet policy 
  • Right to a closer reserved parking spot if you have mobility concerns
  • Adjusting method of payment if necessary
A reasonable modification is a physical change to the property that can be requested due to a disability. These are some possible scenarios where a reasonable modification is required: 
  • Accessible entrances: Ramps, wider, automatic sliding doors, etc.
  • Adjustments to housing systems: Lower access to light switches, thermostats, etc.
  • Reinforced bathroom walls able to support a grab bar 
While you may be entitled to these requests, you need to communicate them to your landlord. If they refuse to address these accommodations or modifications, you can file a complaint

How to file a fair housing complaint in West Virginia

Discrimination happens on a regular basis. Maybe you’ve inquired about a listing and the landlord expressed interest in renting it to you—only to lose interest once you show up for an in-person showing. Or perhaps you mentioned something about your disability and shortly after, your real estate agent informed you that the listing has been taken down—despite it remaining active weeks later. 
If you think you have been victim to unfair housing practices based on your race, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or presence of children, you are legally entitled to file a complaint under the Fair Housing Act. 
To file a complaint, follow these steps: 
  • Print and fill out the relevant form: If you are filing a complaint regarding public accommodations, fill out
    this form
    . If you are filing a complaint regarding housing in general, fill out
    this form
  • Mail the completed form to the address listed at the top of the document. 

State agency vs. local offices

Depending on your location, your city may have a different process you must follow to file a housing complaint. Consult the relevant websites to determine what steps you’ll need to take for the following jurisdictions:
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How to save money on home and renters insurance in West Virginia

Once you’ve rented or purchased a home—regardless of whether you encountered discrimination—you’ll need to purchase
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To report a landlord for unfair housing practices in West Virginia, call the
U.S. Department of
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