What You Need to Know About Utah's Fair Housing Act

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The goal of the 1968 Fair Housing Act is to allow all people to choose where they want to live, free of the roadblocks of discrimination. The Civil Rights movement's push for equality helped put this law in place. As times change, the Act evolves, and as recently as 2021, protected classes also include gender identity and sexual orientation.
The Fair Housing Act applies to all 50 states. In Utah, a landlord cannot deny housing based on race, religion, sex, familial status, source of income, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more.
As some states have recognized the need for additional protection for their citizens, the process of filing a complaint will differ based on where you live. Jerry, the super app for homeowners, renters, and car insurance, can do more than save you money! Here is some information you need to know about fair housing in Utah in case you ever need to file a complaint.
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Does Utah have a Fair Housing Act?

Yes! You can find Utah’s Fair Housing Act under Title 57 Chapter 21-1of the Utah state code. This act breaks down who is covered, who is exempt, and what defines discrimination in the housing market. In Utah, it is illegal to do any of the following based on a group or person's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, source of income, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity
  • Refusing to sell, rent, negotiate or make a unit unavailable after receiving a bona fide offer
  • Publishing or advertising, written or verbally, a preference for one group of people over another
  • Barring a protected class from residing in a particular neighborhood
  • Denying housing to someone due to their disability, appearance of disability, or the disability of someone associated with them
  • Refusing to make reasonable accommodations or reasonable modifications to a residence to aide someone with a disability
Section 57-21-3 of the Utah code notes exemptions for these rules for private individuals, non-profit organizations, non-commercial transactions, and religious organizations. If you feel that your rights were violated while you were looking for a new home, you can file a complaint with the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division (UTLD). 

Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act

In addition to the 1968 Fair Housing Act, the 1991 Fair Housing Act extends specific protections for people with disabilities. This federal statute allows for reasonable accommodations and reasonable modification requests so that people with disabilities can have full use and enjoyment of their units. While they sound the same, they are indeed very different. 
Individuals with a disability or someone on their behalf can request a reasonable accommodation to specific policies or rules. Common accommodation requests are:
  • Allowing a tenant with mobility limitations to move to a ground floor unit mid-lease term
  • Adjusting rent due dates to line up with when a resident receives their government assistance 
  • Allowing a seeing-eye dog at a location where pets are usually not allowed
A reasonable modification request is a physical change that allows the tenant to move freely within their home. For example, some changes can include: the relocation of light switches, adding grab bars in shower stalls, or changing the heights of kitchen counters to allow for wheelchair access.
We all deserve to live in a safe and comfortable environment. If your request for a reasonable modification or accommodation was unfairly denied, file a discrimination complaint with the UALD.
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How to file a fair housing complaint in Utah

While it would be great to say that discrimination doesn’t occur anymore, the reality is that it still occurs everyday. 
Fair housing complaints in Utah are filed through the UALD or the U.S. Department of Housing (HUD). After completing theIntake Questionnaire, complaints can be filed by email, fax, or mail. UALD will respond to complaints filed within 180 days. Any claims filed over 180 days need to be filed with HUD by usingthis form.
After the claim is filed, you will be given a date for a Resolutions Conference within 10 days. Aside from your personal information, here is additional information you will need to provide: 
  • Name and address of the person your complaint is against
  • Contact information for another person who can reach you
  • The address of the property involved
  • A short description of the incident
  • The date(s) of the violation
Here's how to file a complaint with Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division:
Fill out the following form: Intake Questionnaire
Mail to: Utah Antidiscrimination & Labor Division 
160 East 300 South, 3rd Floor 
PO Box 146630 
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6630
Fax: 801-530-7609
Email: fh@utah.gov
Here's how to file a complaint with HUD:
Fill out the following form: PDF complaint form
Mail to: ROCKY MOUNTAINS OFFICE 
Fair Housing Hub U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development 
1670 Broadway 
Denver, CO 80202-4801 
Fax (303) 672-5026
E-mail: Complaints_office_08@hud.gov

State agency vs. local offices

While all fair housing complaints are filed with UALD, you can also reach out to a local agency for additional assistance:

How to save money on home and renters insurance in Utah

Fair Housing protection is more important than ever in The Beehive State amidst the turbulent economic times we are facing. Jerry wants to make sure you have the resources you need to say informed and to protect yourself with things like affordable renters and home insurance.  
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FAQ

If you need to report your landlord for unfair housing practices in Utah, file a complaint directly with theUtah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division (UTLD) by filling out this Intake Questionnaire and emailing it to fh@utah.gov.

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