What You Need to Know About North Carolina’s Fair Housing Act

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North Carolina’s State Fair Housing Act declares it illegal for any landlord, loan officer, real estate agent, bank, or similar individual or institution to deny a person housing, funding, or housing-related information on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status. 
Rampant housing discrimination in the United States, particularly against Black people and people of color, was among the key issues of the Civil Rights movement. Finally, in 1968, the Federal Government enacted the Fair Housing Act to protect homebuyers and renters from unjust discrimination from landlords, banks, and real estate agents. 
Even though the Fair Housing Act is federal law and recognized in all 50 states, there are, unfortunately, still many cases of housing discrimination. If this happens to you, you have the right to file an official complaint against the offending individual or organization—but the process isn’t the same everywhere. 
That’s why the super app for homeowners, renters, and car owners, Jerry, has put together this guide on the Fair Housing Act of North Carolina that will help you better understand the minutiae of the FHA and the complaint process in your state. 
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Does North Carolina have a Fair Housing Act?

North Carolina does have a Fair Housing Act. You can find the State Fair Housing Act in Chapter 41A of the North Carolina General Statutes. Through this Act, it is illegal for North Carolina landlords, real estate agents, banks, loan officers, or similar individuals or institutions to do any of the following on the grounds of race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status: 
  • Refuse to receive or transmit a real estate transaction with a qualified individual
  • Change the terms, conditions, or privileges of a real estate transaction
  • Withhold information about a property listing
  • Refuse an inspection of a property 
  • Refuse to negotiate a real estate transaction 
  • Advertise or make known limitations or specifications for or against certain tenants
  • Otherwise deny housing or make housing unavailable
The Fair Housing Act legally binds any person or institution involved in providing housing in North Carolina. If you are a member of one or more of the protected classes of people and feel that you have been a target of housing discrimination, you may file an official complaint with the North Carolina Human Relations Commission.

Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act

The accessibility requirements that landlords and housing providers must adhere to are outlined in the North Carolina Fair Housing for Tenants with Disabilities guide. The document discusses both reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications.
Reasonable accommodations can be defined as any change made to the rules, policies, or procedures of a dwelling that allows a person with a disability to have full use and enjoyment of the dwelling unit and public and common areas on the property. These requests can look like this:
  • A different type of housing application or help filling out the application.
  • Allowing a tenant’s live-in healthcare provider to be put on the lease.
  • Permitting a service animal to live on the premises even if there is a no-pet policy.
  • Assigning a tenant a designated parking spot if they have a mobility impairment.
Another type of accessibility requirement is reasonable modifications. These are changes to the physical structure of a housing unit that allows the living and enjoyment of the dwelling unit and public and common areas by an individual with a disability, such as:
  • Wider doorways to accommodate wheelchair maneuvering.
  • An accessible entrance and pathway leading to it. 
  • Bathroom walls that can support a grab bar. 
  • Thermostats, electrical outlets, and light switches are within reach.
Although there is not a specific metric for what “reasonable” means, the law does state that a request is unreasonable if it would create an “undue burden” on or “fundamental alteration” to the housing program. 
The housing provider must compare regular operation costs, overall available financial resources, and the costs of the requested accommodation to prove a request would cause this burden or alteration.
If your request for a reasonable accommodation or a reasonable modification is denied and the housing providers cannot prove that your request creates an undue burden or alteration, you can file a fair housing complaint.

How to file a fair housing complaint in North Carolina

Housing discrimination is not always glaringly obvious. Sometimes it shows up as a higher offering price than what is listed or you get denied a loan even though you meet all the qualifications. 
If you suspect that a landlord, real estate agent, loan officer, bank, or other housing provider is discriminating against you based on your race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status, you can file a fair housing complaint and attempt to claim damages
In general, there are two governing bodies that you can submit a North Carolina fair housing complaint to: the North Carolina Human Relations Commission and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
To file a fair housing complaint with the North Carolina Human Relations Commission:
To file a complaint through HUD:
  • Call 202-708-1112 or 800-669-9777
  • Mail your inquiry to: Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Room 5204, 451 7th St SW, Washington D.C. 20410-2000
Be sure to include all relevant details of the event that you are reporting, including names and contact information of the offending individual or organization, exact dates, and a description of the event in question. 

State agency vs. local offices

Reporting discrimination to the North Carolina Human Relations Commission or the Department of Housing and Urban Development may be the most efficient method of dealing with the event. Depending on where you live, however, you may need to report directly to your jurisdiction. If you live in any of the following, file your complaints with those agencies:
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How to save money on home and renters insurance in North Carolina

North Carolina homeowners and renters have a right to fair housing—and should have the means to protect their homes at an affordable rate. That’s where Jerry, the super app made famous for home and car insurance,  can help.
Finding the right coverage for your needs and budget can seem like an overwhelming task, but Jerry can make it super simple. After answering a few questions in the easy-to-use app, Jerry will send you custom quotes from top home insurance providers based on your demographics, home value, and location, finding you the coverage you need to protect your home and your loved ones. 
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To report a landlord for housing discrimination in North Carolina, contact the North Carolina Human Relations Commission by calling 919-807-4420 or 866-324-7474, or submitting the Housing Discrimination Complaint Form found here.

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