Are your clients in line with local and federal Non-Discrimination policies?

Guest blog by David Sparling, Diversity and Housing Initiatives Chair

"Every American deserves to live with dignity, regardless of who they love or who they are. HUD is committed to fighting unjust discrimination and to expanding housing opportunity for all. We believe there are no second-class citizens. And I will do every single thing that I can to make sure that everyone is protected."
- HUD Secretary Julián Castro

While the NAR Code of Ethics clearly prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, local and federal housing policies are often unknown or unclear to the public. Protect your clients and make sure they understand current non-discrimination policies wherever they are in the Metroplex.

Working towards ending housing discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is part of HUD’s ongoing mission to give every person and family access to a safe, secure and affordable home. Though the Fair Housing Act does not specifically include sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited bases, HUD’s position is very clear: one may not discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

HUD believes the Fair Housing Act offers protection for people who do not conform to gender stereotypes. For example, a landlord may not discriminate against an individual because he believes the person acts in a manner that does not conform to his notion of how a person of a particular sex should act. In addition, HUD uses the Gender Identity Rule to further require that transgender persons and other persons who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth be given equal access to programs, benefits, services, and accommodations in accordance with their gender identity.

On the local level, Dallas, Fort Worth and Plano also have specific non-discrimination ordinances offering lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents protection against discrimination in housing and other environments.

Rules your clients should know:

It is prohibited for any landlord or housing provider who receives HUD or FHA funds to discriminate against a tenant on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.

It is prohibited for a lender to deny an FHA-insured mortgage to any qualified applicant based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.

It is illegal to deny housing because of someone's HIV/AIDS status under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

It is prohibited for homeless facilities to segregate or isolate transgender individuals solely based on their gender identity who are homeless and seeking shelter.

If you believe your clients have experienced (or are about to experience) housing discrimination, you may contact HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for help at (800) 669-9777. You may also file a housing discrimination complaint online.

Additionally you may contact your local HUD office for assistance with alleged violations of HUD’s Equal Access Rule and other program regulations.