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

Georgia’s Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on disability, race, sex, color, national origin, religion, or familial status.
Written by Emily Maracle
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Under Georgia’s Fair Housing Act, every Georgian has the right to compete for housing on a fair and equitable basis. This means brokers, real estate agents, landlords, or even financial institutions can’t deny someone housing based on their race, disability, sex, color, national origin, religion, or familial status. 
The federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) was enacted in 1968, after the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed, which expanded on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discriminating against someone during housing-related activities is illegal in the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories. 
Furthermore, in 2021, the Fair Housing Act amended the original definition of sex to sexual orientation or gender identity, giving more people protection from housing discrimination. 
Although the Fair Housing Act is designed to protect those in the United States, filing a complaint can vary depending on where you live. To learn more about the Fair Housing Act in Georgia,
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Does Georgia have a Fair Housing Act?

It does!
passed the
Fair Housing Act
in 1988, making it illegal to discriminate against someone during housing-related activities based on their:
  • Religion
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Familial status
Furthermore, you cannot do any of the following in Georgia based on the above-protected traits:
  • Refusing to rent or sell a home or apartment 
  • Falsely telling someone housing is unavailable 
  • Advertising a preference or dislike for a particular group
  • Creating or offering different terms or conditions for contracts, agreements, and people
  • Steering clients or tenants to move to or from a specific area 
  • Discriminating in a mortgage or loan application
  • Intimidating someone to prevent buying or renting a property
  • Blockbusting or urging someone to sell their home based on the type of people moving into a neighborhood
The Georgia Fair Housing Act’s regulations apply to anyone involved in housing and housing-related activities within the Peach State. Under the law, this includes landlords, real estate agents, brokers, developers, financial institutions, and more.
If you’ve been discriminated against and believe your fair housing rights have been violated, you can submit a complaint to the
Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity (GCEO)

Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act

Georgia Code
also covers the accessibility requirements for fair housing. These regulations follow the nationally mandated requirements for reasonable accommodations and modifications per the
1991 Fair Housing Act
Reasonable modifications apply to multifamily dwellings that are newly constructed for the first occupancy on or after March 13, 1991, and include:
  • At least one accessible entrance that’s the primary entryway for residents and guests
  • Doorways and ramps must be at least 36-inches wide to allow wheelchair access
  • Common areas, like kitchens and bathrooms, are accessible to those with disabilities, and an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver  
  •  Outlets, light switches, and thermostats must have accessible locations
  • A reinforced wall in all bathrooms with the ability to support a grab bar
Additionally, an individual can request reasonable accommodation in regards to the housing provider’s rules, policies, practices, or services to enjoy or have full use of a space. An accommodation request could be:
  • Requesting a seeing-eye dog is allowed in a no pet building
  • Requesting a reserved parking space if there are mobility concerns
  • Adjusting rent payments to reflect income assistance checks
Should there be any issues with your home, or if a landlord or property manager refuses to make reasonable accommodations or modifications, you can file a complaint under the Fair Housing Act.

How to file a fair housing complaint in Georgia

If you saw an ad on Craigslist for an available apartment and went to the open house where the landlord told you it was rented—even though others were actively filling out applications—that’s housing discrimination. 
Under Georgia law, you have a right to file a complaint when you believe your fair housing rights were violated based on your race, national origin, sex, disability, or religion. 
To file a complaint, you can contact the
Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity (GCEO)
. You can submit a complaint in writing, by fax, calling, or
within one year of the incident. 
Another option is to file a claim directly with the
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
. You can file a complaint online, by phone, mail, or email.
Regardless of where you file, you’ll need to include:
  • Name and address
  • Name and address of the person who violated your rights
  • Address of where the incident occurred
  • Date of the incident
  • Description of the incident 
Once filed, fair housing investigators will investigate the complaint, collect additional information and interview witnesses and parties involved, help both parties reach an agreement, and make a final determination based on the investigation. 

State agency vs. local offices

In Georgia, most local agencies recommend reporting fair housing violations to GCEO or HUD. However, some local agencies can accept fair housing complaints. If you live in either of these jurisdictions, here is your local option for complaints:
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How to save money on home and renters insurance in Georgia

Regardless of where you live in Georgia, you have the right to fair housing on a fair and equitable basis. Similarly,
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You can report a landlord for a fair housing violation in Georgia by contacting the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity. You can submit this form
, contact the Intake Coordinator at 404-463-4706, or visit the office in-person at 205 Jesse Hill Jr. Dr. SE, 14th Floor-1470B East Tower, Atlanta, GA 30334.
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