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

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Under the Indiana fair housing act, housing providers can’t deny residents housing, real estate services, or mortgage loans based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. 
The 1968 Fair Housing Act was a monumental win for the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. This crucial federal act shields residents in all 50 states from discrimination on the basis of many aspects of a person’s identity. 
The Federal Housing Act continues to change in response to a more inclusive and progressive political climate. In 2021, the Act was amended to protect individuals based on gender identity and sexual orientation. 
While the Fair Housing Act guarantees renters and buyers protection from discrimination across the country, filing a complaint follows a different process depending on where you live. Thankfully, Jerry, the super app for homeowners, renters, and car insurance, has everything you need to know about asserting your right to fair housing in Indiana.
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Does Indiana have a fair housing act? 

We have good news—Indiana does have a Fair Housing Act in Code 22-9-1 of the Indiana Code. This section of Indiana’s state law prohibits any of the following activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability: 
  • Refuse to rent or sell housing
  • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, rental, or sale
  • Refuse to make a mortgage loan 
  • Impose different conditions or terms on a loan 
  • Threaten, coerce or intimidate any individual exercising a fair housing right
  • Refuse reasonable changes to your dwelling to accommodate a disability
Indiana’s Fair Housing Act also states that discrimination against families is illegal because they have children under 18 years old. The exception is for housing units specifically for housing people age 55 and older. 
Indiana’s Fair Housing Act applies to anyone selling or leasing property in the state and includes real estate agents, banks, brokers, and real estate developers
If any of these groups of people violate your right to fair housing, you should file a complaint by calling, writing or visiting the Indiana Civil Rights Commission within a year of the incident.  An experienced Intake Specialist will listen and assist you according to your unique situation. 

Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act 

The Indiana Fair Housing Act also outlines specific accessibility requirements for fair housing in Indiana. 
These are nationally enforced requirements laid out by the 1991 Fair Housing Actwhich defines disability-related housing issues and discrimination that can arise from these issues.
In Indiana, disability issues in fair housing typically fall into five primary categories: reasonable accommodations, reasonable modifications, service animals, accessibility, lending, and zoning (most often related to group homes).
Indiana’s Fair Housing Act outlines many forms of disability-based housing discrimination,  including:
  • Not allowing a reasonable accommodation in a “no pets” policy for someone who needs an animal for their disability 
  • Limiting housing options to certain groups of people
  • Using "employment" as a lease qualification
  • Requiring someone with a disability to get renters insurance when this stipulation doesn't apply to other tenants
  • Requiring a person with a disability must be able to live independently. 
The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana provides many resources for housing providers to understand what reasonable accommodations and modifications are, as well as links to specific governance surrounding accessibility and housing.
According to Indiana’s Fair Housing Act, you may file a complaint if you’re a person with a disability and you’ve been denied reasonable accommodations or modifications.

How to file a fair housing complaint in Indiana 

Discrimination can happen during any part of the housing process, from showing up to an open house, signing a lease, and applying for a mortgage. If it does happen, you can report the housing provider and claim damages by filing a fair housing complaint
Here’s how to protect yourself from housing discrimination in Indiana: 
Indiana Civil Rights Commission
100 North Senate Avenue, Room N300
Indianapolis, IN 46204
You must file it within 365 days of the alleged discriminatory situation for your complaint to be investigated. 
The Commission strongly recommends that all official communication between you and the housing provider is done through writing. Copies of emails, texts, and even lease agreements that provide evidence of breaching the Fair Housing Act will help the Commission more accurately assess your claim. 
If written evidence isn’t available, keep track of the dates and times any discriminatory situations occurred. 

State agency vs local offices 

The most efficient way to make a housing-related discrimination complaint in Indiana is through the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, although some communities have their own agencies which also address fair housing complaints. If you live in one of these communities and would rather go through their local agency, here’s where you’ll need to go:
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Regardless of where you’re from, you have the right to fair housing in the Hoosier State. While you may face challenges during your hunt for the perfect home in Indiana or somewhere else, you can turn to Jerry to find you affordable home insurance from a trusted provider. 
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If you believe you’ve been discriminated against by a landlord in Indiana, the best way to report them is by calling, writing, or visiting the Indiana Civil Rights Commission within 365 days and describing the situation you feel was discriminatory.

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