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

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Oregon’s Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to deny housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, disability, disability, source of income, marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
In 1968, the Civil Rights Movement made waves when the federal government introduced the  Fair Housing Act. This legislature protects Americans in all 50 states from housing-based discrimination and aims to provide access to fair housing, regardless of identity. As recently as 2021, protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation became a part of the FHA’s guarantee
While the FHA applies to all 50 states, procedures for filing a fair housing complaint may be different depending on the state you live in. Jerry, the super app for renters and car insurance, is here with all the info and tips you need to assert your right to fair housing in Oregon. 
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Does Oregon have a fair housing act? 

Yes! Oregon’s Fair Housing Act can be found in Chapter 659A of the Oregon Revised Statutes. Under this chapter of Oregon state law, it is illegal to do any of the following activities based on a person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, disability, source of income, marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity: 
  • Refuse to rent or sell housing
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Deny a dwelling
  • Set different terms, conditions, or privileges for the sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Provide different housing services or facilities
  • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
  • Persuade owners to sell or rent for profit
  • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service related to the sale or rental of housing
In addition to these prohibited activities, it’s illegal to threaten, coerce, intimidate, or interfere with anyone exercising their right to fair housing. 
This legislation applies to all types of housing in Oregon, mandating compliance from property owners, property managers, shelter staff and volunteers, rent assistance program staff, homeowners’ assistants, real estate agents, and all lenders and insurers. 

Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act

The Oregon Fair Housing Act offers additional protections to people with disabilities to ensure they have accessible housing. 
The Act states that if you live with a physical or mental disability such as hearing, mobility, or visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, or other disabilities, your landlord cannot do the following
  • Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if the modifications are necessary for you to access your housing. 
  • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services if necessary for you to access your housing.
In these cases, reasonable accommodations and modifications mean that they shouldn’t be too costly, they shouldn’t cause your landlord undue burden, and they shouldn’t pose a direct threat to other residents. 
Common examples of reasonable modifications and accommodations include allowing service animals, installing safety bars in the washroom, or providing accessible parking. 
If your landlord refuses to make a reasonable modification or accommodation for your disability, you’re within your legal rights to file a fair housing complaint against them. 

How to file a fair housing complaint in Oregon 

If you believe you’ve been denied access to fair housing in Oregon because of your identity, you can report the homeowner, landlord, real estate agent, lender, insurer, or other housing providers to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).
Here’s the procedure: 
  • First, you’ll fill out a questionnaire for an intake officer to assess whether the Civil Rights Division of BOLI can accept your complaint. After the questionnaire is assessed, you’ll be notified whether the Civil Rights Division can proceed. 
  • If the Civil Rights Division can proceed, an intake officer will write a formal complaint for you or contact you for more information to write the complaint. Once the complaint is written, it must be signed by you for BOLI to file it. 
You’ll receive correspondence from BOLI about the progress of your complaint. If you have any questions about the process or need help filing, you can contact BOLI at 971-673-0761 or email help@boli.state.or.us.
Additionally, you always have the option to file a complaint directly with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

State agency vs. local offices 

In most cases, filing your housing discrimination complaint with BOLI is the easiest way to file a complaint, but some jurisdictions have their own local agencies to address fair housing inquiries. If you live in one of these jurisdictions, here’s the agency you’ll need to go to:
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How to save money on home and renters insurance in Oregon 

Regardless of who you are or where you’re from, you have a legal right to fair housing in Oregon. Protecting your home is just as important as protecting your rights when it comes to safe housing. Jerry, the insurance comparison and shopping super app, can help with that. 
Jerry is a licensed insurance broker and the #1 rated insurance app on the app store. In just 45 seconds, you can enter your information in the app and see if you’re overpaying for homeowners or renters insurance. If you’re also paying for car insurance, Jerry’s team of experts can even help you find the perfect bundle to save money on multiple policies! 
“I felt like I was paying too much for my insurance policy, so I downloaded Jerry. I literally only typed in 3 pieces of info and Jerry found my current insurance. In a few minutes, they pulled up 2 Progressive policies that showed $900 in savings over 6 months!” —Maeve J.

FAQ

While every state may not necessarily have its own act, the Fair Housing Act is a federal law that protects all Americans seeking housing in all 50 states from housing-based discrimination.

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