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

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Ohio state laws make it illegal to deny someone housing based on protected classes like race, sex, disability, color, familial status, national origin, or military status.
Finding a new place to live is almost always stressful and time-consuming, but it’s especially so if you suspect someone is trying to deny you housing for arbitrary—and illegal—reasons. Unfortunately, not everyone providing housing plays by the rules—which is where state and federal fair housing laws come into play.
To help introduce you to fair housing laws in Ohio, Jerry, the licensed broker and top-rated home, renters, and car insurance app, is here with this introductory guide. Read on to get a sense of what Ohio’s fair housing laws are—and how you can submit a complaint if your housing rights have been violated.
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Does Ohio have a Fair Housing Act?

Housing in Ohio is subject to the federal Fair Housing Act, as well as laws at the state level, including the anti-discrimination requirements outlined in Section 4112 of the Ohio Revised Code.
These laws prevent discrimination in the sale or rental of a home, as well as in obtaining financing for a home. They make it illegal to deny someone opportunities in these areas based solely on their race, national origin, color, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, ancestry, familial status, or military status.
Examples of illegal housing discrimination would include:
  • Refusal to sell or rent a property despite a reasonable offer or application
  • Offering different terms and conditions for a home loan
  • Refusal to make reasonable accommodations or modifications for an individual with a disability
  • Publishing an ad for a home sale or rental that demonstrates a preference of one group within a protected class over another
  • Refusal to show someone a home for sale or rent based on a protected class
If you feel your housing rights have been violated based on these laws, you can file a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC).

Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act

Federal and Ohio state laws layout requirements for fair housing, and that includes those that make housing safe and enjoyable for individuals with one or more disabilities.
Under the federal Fair Housing Act, one major component of this is making reasonable accommodations and modifications to a living space occupied by someone with a disability. Generally speaking, accommodations refer to adjusting policies, practices, and services, while modifications refer to physical changes to a dwelling structure to better accommodate an individual with a disability.
Examples of reasonable accommodations and modifications include:
  • Making an accessible parking spot available to an individual with a disability
  • Allowing an individual to move to a ground-floor unit
  • Installing handrails in a bathroom or throughout a home
  • Making rooms or hallways wheelchair-accessible
  • Installing an entrance ramp
  • Accepting rent payments on a date that’s compatible with when an individual receives income assistance
  • Allowing a service animal in a building that doesn’t allow pets
If your landlord refuses to make reasonable changes to accommodate your disability, you can file a complaint under the Fair Housing Act.

How to file a fair housing complaint in Ohio

If you’ve experienced housing discrimination in Ohio that violates state law, you can file a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC).
The OCRC says you’ll need to report the incident within a year of the date that it occurred. Ahead of filing a complaint, you can learn more about the process on the OCRC website, and the commission encourages questions to be directed to its email, pace@civ.ohio.gov.
Here’s how to file a housing discrimination complaint with the OCRC:
  • Submit your complaint online or by calling your regional OCRC office. All regional offices can be reached by calling 1-888-278-7101. Due to COVID-19, submitting housing discrimination complaints in person at regional OCRC offices is currently on pause.
  • After submitting a complaint, an investigator will be assigned to the case, who will mail letters and copies of the affidavit to both parties involved within two weeks.
  • As the investigation is underway, the investigator may ask you to provide additional information or documentation.
You can also report housing discrimination complaints at the federal level to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

State agency vs. local offices

State-level housing discrimination complaints can be handled by the OCRC’s central office in Columbus or the applicable agency office in your region.
You can reach all locations by calling this toll-free number: 1-888-278-7101.
ColumbusCentral Office
AkronAkron Regional Office
CincinnatiCincinnati Satellite Office
ClevelandCleveland Regional Office
ColumbusColumbus Regional Office
DaytonDayton Regional Office
ToledoToledo Regional Office
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How to save money on home and renters insurance in Ohio

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To report a landlord for illegal housing discrimination in Ohio, submit a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) online at www.crc.ohio.gov or by phone at 1-888-278-7101.

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