What You Need to Know About Alaska’s Fair Housing Act

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In Alaska, it is illegal for a landlord, broker, bank, and real estate agent to discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability. In certain instances, discrimination based on marital status, pregnancy status, and age is also illegal under Alaska law. 
Since 1968, the Fair Housing Act has protected homeowners and renters nationwide against all kinds of discrimination. Although it’s been several decades since it first passed, the Fair Housing Act is continually being updated to expand the scope of its protection to include more marginalized groups.
As helpful and important as the Fair Housing Act is, it’s only beneficial if you know your rights. Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, the super appJerry has put together this guide to the Alaska Fair Housing Act. Here, you’ll find all the information you need about who is protected under Alaska law and what you need to do to file a complaint. 
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Does Alaska have a Fair Housing Act?

You bet! The state of Alaska is in full compliance with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s fair housing laws. So, in Alaska, the following actions are illegal based on race, color, religion, national origins, sex, familial status, or disability
  • Refusal to rent, sell, or negotiate for housing
  • Refusal to make certain changes to accommodate a disability 
  • Falsely stating that a house or rental property is unavailable for rental or sale
  • Advertising that a sale or rental unit is only available to certain groups 
  • Denying a loan or information about how to acquire a loan for a rental or purchase 
  • Harassment of a tenant, including sexual harassment 
  • Applying different conditions on a lease, mortgage, or loan 
In addition to the general guidelines laid out in the Fair Housing Act, Chapter 80 of Alaska law also makes the above illegal based on someone's marital status (including change in marital status), pregnancy status, and age. Unless the housing community you’re looking for is specially designated for “singles only” or for “married couples only,” you can’t be denied because of your marital status. 

Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act 

To understand the accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act, you first have to know which conditions qualify as disabilities in the state of Alaska:
  • Chronic mental illness
  • Addiction and alcoholism 
  • Diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS
  • Developmental disabilities 
  • Mobility and hearing impairments 
  • Impaired vision 
All multi-family homes built for occupancy before March 13, 1991 must meet a couple of accessibility standards: 
  • Wheelchair-friendly kitchens and bathrooms 
  • Minimum of one accessible entrance
  • Reinforced walls throughout the space that can handle a grab bar 
  • Lower light switches, outlets, and thermostat switches than can be reached from a wheelchair 
  • Wheel-chair friendly doors 
If your dwelling does not meet the standards listed above, it is your right to request that reasonable accommodations be made like installing a wheelchair ramp, widening the doorways, lowering the countertops, etc. 
 The 1991 Fair Housing Act also addressed the possible need for reasonable accommodations. Though they sound the same, modifications refer to the physical structure of the home, while reasonable accommodations are about the housing provider's rules, policies, practices, or services. A good example is a tenant who needs a seeing-eye dog at an apartment complex that usually does not allow animals

How to file a Fair Housing complaint in Alaska 

No landlord, broker, or real estate agent will flat out tell you that they’re discriminating against you or your family based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability. But, if you’ve got a hunch that that’s the case, you should file a complaint with the FHEO. 
There are a couple of ways you could go about this: 
  • File a complaint through their online portal
  • Download and fill out this form and email it to your local FHEO Field Office Director. For Alaska, email it to Chad Stovall (ak_manager@hug.gov) at the Anchorage Field Office. 
  • If you’d rather send the form via mail, you can send it to the Anchorage Field Office at  3000 C Street, Suite 401, Anchorage, AK 99503 
  • Call an FHEO intake specialist at 1-800-669-9777 or 1-800-877-8339
  • Call the Anchorage Field Office at 907-677-9800
The information you provide to the FHEO not only gives them a clearer picture of what’s going on, but allows them to get an idea of what you may be owed in damages, an estimate of court costs and attorney fees, and whether or not you should file an injunction or restraining order. 

State agency vs. local offices 

While reporting directly to the FHEO or the Anchorage Field Office is the most straightforward way to handle a housing discrimination complaint, there are a couple of other resources available in the state of Alaska that may be helpful depending on the city you’re in:
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Interior Regional Housing Authority, and the Ketchikan Indian Community Housing Authority also provide resources for indigenous and Native Alaskan communities throughout the state. 

How to save on home and renters insurance in Alaska 

As we’ve laid out above, you have a legal right to fair housing in the state of Alaska. And while saving money on your home and renters insurance policies may not technically be written in the law, we still think it’s pretty important! That’s why Jerry’s goal is to make finding a cheap deal accessible for everyone. 
By comparing competitive rates from dozens of providers, Jerry takes the hard work of finding a great deal on your insurance for you. It’s the number #1 rated insurance app for a reason! All you need to do is enter some basic information and let Jerry take care of the rest. 
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You should call the Anchorage Field Office of the FHEO at 907-677-9800 or email ak_manager@hug.gov to report your landlord for discriminatory housing practices.

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