What You Need to Know About South Dakota’s Fair Housing Act

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In South Dakota, it is illegal for a landlord or broker to deny you housing or mortgage financing based on race, creed, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, disability, or familial status.
In 1968, the federal Fair Housing Act became the law of the land. It offers powerful protection to renters and home buyers in all 50 states against discrimination. In addition, these protections extend to gender identity and sexual orientation as of 2021.
Every state has its own process for filing a complaint. If you think you’ve been a victim of housing discrimination in South Dakota, you’ll want to read this article. Here’s a quick guide from homeowners, renters, and car insurance super app Jerry about fair housing in South Dakota. 
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Does South Dakota have a Fair Housing Act?

Yes. South Dakota state law adheres to the federal fair housing guidelines, as stated in codified law 36-21A-132. Under this statute, it is illegal to do any of the following in the state of South Dakota on the basis of race, creed, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, disability, or familial status: 
  • Falsely claim that a property is not available
  • Refuse to rent or sell a property following a legitimate offer
  • Refuse a mortgage application
  • Impose different conditions in a contract 
  • Print or publish any advertisement that indicates a preference for a specific type of applicant over another 
  • Refuse to make reasonable changes to accommodate a disability
Everyone is bound by the fair housing act, including banks, brokers, developers, real estate agents, landlords, and others. If you suspect that your right to fair housing has been violated, you should consider filing a complaint with the South Dakota Housing Development Authority.

Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act

The fair housing guidelines in South Dakota include accessibility requirements. The 1991 Fair Housing Act federally mandates these requirements, and they require reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications in a multifamily dwelling. 
Let’s quickly cover the difference between the two coverages.
A reasonable accommodation is a change to a procedure or policy that allows a person with a disability full access and enjoyment of their home and shared spaces. Typical accommodation requests may include:
  • Allowing a seeing-eye dog in a building that does not normally permit animals
  • Setting aside a parking spot close to the unit for residents who struggle with mobility
  • Accepting rent payments by email instead of requiring an in-person visit to the office
On the other hand, a reasonable modification is about the physical space. These requests can vary depending on the space and the person with the disability. For instance, someone might request a reasonable modification like:
  • Installing doors wide enough for a wheelchair 
  • Installing at least one accessible entrance unless the terrain prevents it
  • Moving light switches and outlets to accessible locations
  • Ensuring that bathrooms and kitchens are reinforced and accessible
If a landlord refuses to make these accommodations for your disability, you are eligible to file a complaint.

How to file a fair housing complaint in South Dakota

Let’s say you got turned down for an apartment despite meeting all the requirements—and you suspect it’s because you use a wheelchair. Or perhaps your mortgage application was denied and you suspect your religion or ancestry played a role.
If you think that your race, creed, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, disability, or familial status made you a target for housing discrimination, please report the offending party by filing a fair housing inquiry
Here’s how to file a fair housing complaint in South Dakota: 
  • Call 1-800-877-7353 
  • Use the online form here
  • Once you print and complete the form, drop it off at your local HUD office
Another option is to file your complaint with the federal body, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Processing times vary, so it may be faster to go to a local agency.

State agency vs. local offices

In most cases, reporting to the state agency is the best way to deal with housing discrimination in South Dakota. However, some cities have their own agencies to support tenants and fight discriminatory housing practices. If you need to file a fair housing inquiry in one of the below jurisdictions, here’s the agency you’ll need to go to:
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