What You Need to Know About North Dakota’s Housing Discrimination Act

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The North Dakota Housing Discrimination Act makes it illegal to deny someone housing opportunities based on protected characteristics, including race, sex, national origin, disability, religion, and more.
In a perfect world, everyone would have equal access to housing opportunities—unfortunately, in the real world, that’s not always the case. Fortunately, state and federal laws in North Dakota are in place to help prevent discriminatory housing practices, and there are ways to report wrongdoers when your housing rights have been violated.
That’s why Jerry, the top-rated licensed home insurance broker, and super app, has put together this introductory guide to help you get a sense of what fair housing protections there are in North Dakota. Read on to learn more about what protections are in place, how to file a housing discrimination complaint, and more.
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Does North Dakota have a Fair Housing Act?

The North Dakota Housing Discrimination Act, in combination with other state laws and the federal Fair Housing Act, prohibits housing discrimination based on a person’s race, national origin, sex, disability, marital status, religion, color, age (40 years or older), public assistance receipt, familial status (including having children under 18), and under certain circumstances, victims of domestic violence.
The following examples would be considered discriminatory if they are based on one or more of the protected classes listed above:
  • Refusal to sell or rent a property despite a “bona fide offer”
  • Refusal to negotiate sale or rental of a property
  • Refusal to show a property available for sale or rent
  • Falsely stating that housing isn’t available
  • Offering different terms and conditions for a property sale or rental
  • Refusal to make reasonable accommodations or modifications for a person with a disability
You can find and review the North Dakota Housing Discrimination Act in Chapter 14-02.5 of the North Dakota Century Code. 

Accessibility requirements for North Dakota Housing

When it comes to accessible housing for individuals with disabilities, there are several applicable laws at the state and federal levels in North Dakota, including the North Dakota Housing Discrimination Act, as well as:
  • North Dakota Human Rights Act: Prohibits discrimination based on protected classes; prohibits the refusal to make a reasonable accommodation or modification to housing for an individual with disabilities.
  • Fair Housing Act Amendments (FHAA) of 1988 Housing Urban Development (HUD): Intended to prohibit housing discrimination toward individuals with disabilities and provide them with options for safe, enjoyable housing.
  • Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines (FHAAG): Addresses requirements regarding reasonable accommodations and modifications under the FHAA.
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Requires federal funding recipients to make their programs, including housing programs, accessible to individuals with disabilities and applies to landlords that receive federal funds. Requires newly constructed units to make at least 5% of its units accessible for individuals with mobility issues.
  • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Requirements apply to local and state government-funded programs and their respective agencies, as well as private affordable housing that receives state funding
  • Olmstead Decision: Supreme Court decision ruling that Title II of the ADA requires states to place individuals with mental disabilities “in community settings rather than institutions” whenever possible.
What laws apply to certain circumstances will largely depend on a rental’s funding sources and who operates it. You can find even more information on these North Dakota housing accessibility laws here.
Under the federal Fair Housing Act, an essential part of making housing accessible for a tenant with one or more disabilities is making reasonable accommodations and modifications. Generally speaking, accommodations refer to adjusting rules, policies, or services for a person with a disability so they can use and enjoy their living space, which would also include a building’s common use areas. Modifications refer to structural changes that would make a dwelling physically safer and more accessible.
Examples of reasonable accommodations and modifications would include:
  • Allowing service animals in a building that doesn’t allow pets
  • Accepting rent payments on a date compatible with the date an individual receives income assistance
  • Allowing a tenant to move to a ground-floor unit
  • Installing handrails in a bathroom or throughout a home
  • Ensuring a hallway, kitchen, and/or bathroom is wheelchair-accessible
  • Making an accessible parking space available for an individual with a disability
  • Installing an entrance ramp for a rental home
If your landlord refuses to make what you believe qualifies as a reasonable modification or accommodation for your disability, you can file a complaint under the Fair Housing Act.

How to file a fair housing complaint in North Dakota

If you’ve experienced housing discrimination in North Dakota you can file a complaint with the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights
The department recommends filing a complaint as soon as possible after an incident, and complaints must be reported no more than a year after the date of the most recent incident.
Here are the general steps involved with filing a complaint with the department:
  • Prepare the necessary information: Ahead of filing a complaint, the department advises you to prepare to provide specific details about the incident, the type of discrimination (i.e., refusal to rent a property despite meeting the requirements), the name of the company or individual(s) involved, contact information, and more. Documentation related to the incident, if you have any, can also prove helpful.
  • File your complaint: You can do so by submitting a form online. You can also print out the form—just note the paper-based form will need to be signed before submitting it to the department. To submit a complaint in person, you can visit the department office in Bismarck during business hours or by appointment at 600 East Boulevard Ave., Dept. 406 in Bismarck. You can additionally submit a complaint via phone by calling 1-800-582-8032. 
  • Wait for the department to contact you: Once you’ve submitted your complaint, someone from the department should contact you within 30 days
If it’s determined the department has jurisdiction over the complaint, an investigator will be assigned. You might be asked to provide additional interviews or evidence as the complaint is investigated.
You can find more tips and resources on housing discrimination complaints here, and you can contact the department directly if you have any lingering questions or concerns.
You can also report housing discrimination complaints to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Pro Tip If you file a complaint with them, make sure to give the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights your updated contact information to avoid the closing of your housing discrimination complaint before the matter is fully investigated.

State agency vs. local offices

In some states, certain cities have local housing agencies where you can report housing discrimination complaints. However, in North Dakota, the state-level Department of Labor and Human Rights handles housing discrimination complaints.
AgencyAddressPhone numberEmail
North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights600 East Boulevard Ave., Dept. 406, Bismarck, ND 58505701-328-2660 (local) or 1-800-366-6888 (toll-free)
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FAQ

To report a landlord in North Dakota for housing discrimination, contact the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights. You can submit a complaint online, in person at the department office in Bismarck, or by phone at 1-800-366-6888. You can also contact the office for more information before you decide to file a complaint.

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