OPINION: April is Fair Housing Month

Al Bravo

The city of Apache Junction, through a proclamation signed by Mayor Jeff Serdy, is celebrating Fair Housing Month in April.

The National Fair Housing Law of 1986, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, prohibits discrimination in housing and declares it a national policy to provide within constitutional limits, for fair housing in the U.S. The principle of Fair Housing is not only national law and national policy but a fundamental human concept and entitlement for all Americans.

Everyone is entitled to equal rights under the fair housing law. The fair housing law covers those persons who feel they may have been discriminated against due to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status.

Here are the prohibited practices under the law if one of the seven covered classes are effected:

In the sale and rental of housing:

  • Refuse to rent or sell housing
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Deny a dwelling
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Provide different housing services or facilities
  • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale or rental
  • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting), or
  • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.

In mortgage lending:

  • Refuse to make a mortgage loan
  • Refuse to provide information regarding loans
  • Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees
  • Discriminate in appraising property
  • Refuse to purchase a loan or
  • Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan.

In addition, it is illegal for anyone to:

  • Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right.
  • Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.

There are additional protections if you have a disability.

If you or someone associated with you:

  • Have a physical or mental disability (including hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex and mental retardation) that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Have a record of such a disability or
  • Are regarded as having such a disability

Your landlord may not:

  • Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing. (Where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move.)
  • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing.

If you feel you have been discriminated against, contact Heather Patel, city of Apache Junction grants administrator. You will be asked to complete and return a complaint referral form, this information will be held confidential. Visit the Arizona Department of Housing’s website at https://housing.az.gov/general-public/fair-housing or http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/FHLaws/yourrights for more information.

Resources:

  • Southern Arizona Legal Aid, 520-316-8076 (Casa Grande)
  • Arizona Attorney General’s Office, 602-542-5263
  • Arizona Center for Disability Law, 800-922-1447
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 800-347-3739
  • Southwest Fair Housing Council, 888-624-4611

The city of Apache Junction is dedicated to affirmatively furthering fair housing in all housing related activities and encourages other housing providers, organizations and realtors to do the same. To promote fair housing, the city does the following:

  • The mayor signs a proclamation declaring April as Fair Housing Month.
  • The city makes available a fair housing brochure and information in the Development Services Department at city hall, 300 E. Superstition Blvd., Apache Junction.
  • The city also displays posters in the Development Services Department at city hall.
  • The city has information available on our website at www.ajcity.net/housing.

For additional information, contact Ms. Patel at 480-474-2635 or hpatel@ajcity.net.

Al Bravo
Public information officer
City of Apache Junction

The opinion page features letters to the editor. To submit a letter, email ajeditor@newszap.com. Letters are not the views of the Apache Junction Independent or Independent Newsmedia Inc USA.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.