Housing Discrimination Against LGBT Persons
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status (i.e., presence of children in the household). The Fair Housing Act does not specifically include sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited bases. However, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person's experience with sexual orientation or gender identity housing discrimination may still be covered by the Fair Housing Act.
See examples and find your enforcement agency on Housing Discrimination and Persons Identifying as LGBTQ here.
Examples of Anti-LGBT Housing Discrimination
- A gay man is evicted because his landlord believes he will infect other tenants with HIV/AIDS. This situation constitutes illegal disability discrimination under the Fair Housing Act because the man is perceived to have a disability, HIV/AIDS.
- A transgender woman is asked by the owner of her apartment building not to dress in women’s clothing in the common areas of the property. This is a violation of the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition of sex discrimination.
- A property manager refuses to rent an apartment to a prospective tenant who is transgender. If the housing denial is because of the prospective tenant's non-conformity with gender stereotypes, it constitutes illegal discrimination on the basis of sex under the Fair Housing Act.
- A female prospective tenant alleges that a landlord refused to rent to her because she wears masculine clothes and engages in other physical expressions that are stereotypically male. If true, this may violate the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition of discrimination based on sex.
- An underwriter for an FHA-insured lender is reviewing a loan application by two males; both incomes are being used as the basis for the applicants’ credit worthiness. The underwriter assumes the applicants are a gay couple and, as a result, denies the application despite the fact that the applicants meet all requirements for the loan. This violates HUD’s Equal Access Rule, which prohibits FHA-insured lenders from taking actual or perceived sexual orientation into consideration in determining adequacy of an applicant’s income.
Where to Turn for Help in LGBT Housing Discrimination Cases
You may contact HUD’s national Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for help at (800) 669-9777. You can also file complaints online, through HUD’s apps, or with your local HUD office. Find more information about how to file a complaint on HUD LGBT Resources here.
Finally, many state, city, and county laws specifically include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes, and some state or local agencies partner with HUD. You can locate your local Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) Agency here.