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By David Ghanizadeh-Khoob
Updated on May 27, 2022
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff, Staff Editor.
Under Missouri state law, it is illegal for anyone to be discriminated against based on their race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, familial status, or disability during the homebuying or rental process.
In 1968, the federal Fair Housing Act helped ensure more equal access to housing. The act has been amended several times, most recently in 2021 to include protection based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Furthermore, states often have their own fair housing regulations. Each state has different processes and agencies for filing a complaint. Jerry, the super app for car and renters insurance, has compiled all of the information that you need to know about the fair housing act in Missouri.
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Does Missouri have a Fair Housing Act?
Yes! Missouri’s state Fair Housing Act is contained in Section 213.040 of the Missouri Statutes. Under Missouri state law, it is illegal to do any of the following based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, familial status, and disability:
- Refuse to rent or sell housing
- Set different terms, conditions, or privileges for the sale or rental of a dwelling or on a mortgage loan
- Make housing unavailable
- Lie that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rent
- Provide different housing services or facilities
- For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent
- Deny access to a facility or service related to the sale or rental of housing
- Refuse to make or purchase a mortgage loan
- Discriminate in appraising a property
Age is not one of the categories protected in Missouri's fair housing act. However, under the category of familial status, families cannot be discriminated against for having children under the age of 18.
The regulations of the Fair Housing Act apply to everyone buying, selling, or renting housing in Missouri, along with people involved in the process of buying, selling, and renting property like real estate agents, banks, brokers, and developers.
If you feel like you have been discriminated against, you can file a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR).
Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act
In addition to fair housing laws, Missouri statute Section 213.040contains accessibility requirements for fair housing. These requirements are also addressed at the national level in the 1991 Fair Housing Act.
Landlords cannot refuse to let tenants with a disability make reasonable accommodations or reasonable modifications to their dwelling.
Individuals with a disability can request reasonable accommodations from a housing provider. This can take the form of adjusting the rules, policies, practices, or services for the dwelling to allow the individual to fully enjoy the property. Common requests include:
- Requesting a seeing-eye dog
- Requesting reserved parking closer to the dwelling
- Requesting to pay rent by mail or another other contactless method that would not require them to go to a rental office
While reasonable accommodations usually involve requesting a service or a change to policy, reasonable modifications typically involve making physical changes to a dwelling. The type of modification will vary depending on the needs of the individual, but common reasonable modification requests include:
- An accessible route into and through the dwelling (beyond what is already in place)
- Widened doors to accommodate a wheelchair
- Lowered light switches and other electrical fixtures in accessible locations
- Kitchen and bathrooms designed in a way that they are usable for wheelchair users
- Bathroom walls that are capable of supporting a grab bar
If your landlord refuses to let you make reasonable changes to your home to accommodate your disability, you may file a complaint under the Fair Housing Act.
How to file a fair housing complaint in Missouri
If you believe that you have been discriminated against in your attempt to buy, sell, or rent a home based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, familial status, or disability, then you can file a complaint to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR).
In reporting the landlord, banker, real estate agent, or other actor, you can try to claim damages through a fair housing inquiry. Here are the steps to the process:
- Contact the MCHR within 180 days of the alleged incident in person, on the phone, or by visiting their website
- If you go online, complete the Discrimination Complaint Assessment to determine if MCHR has jurisdiction over your complaint
- File a complaint with the MCHR housing unit
- The MCHR will invite the parties to mediate or settle the complaint. If you don’t want to settle, you can instead ask for a Notice of Right to Sue
- The MCHR will investigate the case and try to settle it without going to court
- If it is not settled, there will be a hearing, and if discrimination is found, then the court will order a remedial action
You also have the option of reporting the case directly to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Federal law allows cases to be filed within one year of the event. Complaints to the HUD can be completed by phone, mail, email, or online.
How to save money on home and renters insurance in Missouri
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How do I report a landlord in Missouri?
To report your landlord for housing discrimination, contact the Missouri Commission on Human Rights at 1-877-781-4236. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them in person at 421 E. Dunklin P.O. Box 1129 Jefferson City, MO 65102-1129.