Under the Connecticut Fair Housing Act, it is illegal for landlords, brokers, or real estate agents to deny anyone housing based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, children or family status, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, legal source of income, or veteran status.
The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that protects renters and homebuyers from housing discrimination in all 50 states. However, the process of reporting housing discrimination and filing a complaint can vary depending on where you live.
Does Connecticut have a Fair Housing Act?
Connecticutdoes not have a Fair Housing Act,
Public Act No. 11-55details discriminatory housing practices. Any of the following acts are unlawful in Connecticut on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, children or family status, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, legal source of income, or veteran status:
- Refusal to rent or sell a property
- Misrepresenting the availability of housing
- Impose different terms and conditions on a rental agreement or housing contract
- Print or publish any advertisement that indicates a preference or limitation because they a member of a protected class
- Refuse to make reasonable changes to accommodate a disability
The Fair Housing Act regulations apply to anyone involved in renting or selling property in Connecticut, including real estatebrokers, developers, and more. If you have experienced discrimination and your right to fair housing has been violated under the terms of the Act, you can report the discrimination to the
Connecticut Fair Housing Center.
Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Actmandates accessibility requirements for fair housing nationally. Housing providers are legally required to address requests for reasonable accommodation and reasonable modification in any multifamily unit.
Any person with a disability can request a reasonable accommodation which is a change or exception to a rule, policy, practice, or service, to have full use and enjoyment of a dwelling. Here are some common accommodation requests:
- Waiving a “No Pets” rule because the tenant has an emotional support or service animal
- Getting additional search time or a payment adjustment under Section 8 and Rental Assistance Vouchers
- Waiving existing criminal offenses (think disturbing the peace) that are related to the disability
- Requesting a reserved parking spot close to the building for a tenant that has mobility restraints
Reasonable modification requests are physical in nature and often require some type of structural adjustment to the dwelling. Modifications will vary depending on the disability and dwelling unit. Here are some common accommodation requests:
- At least one accessible entrance unless the terrain does not allow it
- Readily accessible public and common areas
- Doorways wide enough to allow wheelchair users to pass-through
- Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible locations
- Kitchens and bathrooms that are designed for wheelchair users
- Reinforced bathroom walls that can support a grab bar
If your home does not meet accessibility requirements, you can request reasonable modifications and accommodations related to your disability. If your landlord refuses to make reasonable changes to accommodate your disability, you are well within your right to file a complaint under the Fair Housing Act.
How to file a fair housing complaint in Connecticut
If a landlorddenied your rental agreement or a real estate agent told you a listing was no longer available and you suspect it was because you are a member of a protected class, you can report discrimination and launch a formal investigation.
Here’s how to file a fair housing complaint in Connecticut:
- Write, call, email, visit or complete an online form with theConnecticut Fair Housing Centerwithin 180 days of the incident
- Call 1-800-685-8470 to contact HUD’s Multifamily Housing Complaint Line
When you file a complaint, the Connecticut Fair Housing Center will:
- Investigate your complaint
- Offer advice and counseling about relevant fair housing laws
- Provide free legal representation to victims of housing discrimination
State agency vs. local offices
Reporting housing discrimination with the Connecticut Fair Housing Center is usually the best way to file a complaint. However, some Connecticut municipalities have local agencies that address fair housing complaints. Here’s the agency you’ll need to go to if you live in either of these municipalities:
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