Fair Housing Project | What does housing discrimination really mean?

If you have been treated unfairly because of your race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, religious creed, color, national origin or disability including HIV status, because you intend to occupy a dwelling with minor children, because you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or because you are the recipient of public assistance, then you have experienced illegal discrimination.

Discrimination is not always obvious and can take many forms. It may happen when a landlord refuses to rent you an apartment, or tells you it is unavailable when it is really vacant. It may occur when the terms and conditions of your lease are different from those of the landlord's other tenants. Illegal discrimination can also happen in advertisements.

What does housing discrimination sound like? Here are some examples of illegal discrimination. If you experience any of these when trying to rent an apartment, buy a house, or get a mortgage, file a complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission ((802) 828-1625, 1-800-416-2010, 1-877-294-9200 (TDD), hrc.vermont.gov) or Vermont Law Help (1-800-889-2047, vtlawhelp.org). 

  • “You can’t live here because you have too many kids.”
  • “We don’t allow families with children to live on the second floor.”
  • “I don’t want those changes like a ramp or grab bar here.”
  • “You will have to pay more because you have children.”
  • “Professional people only. No kids or Section 8.”
  • “You have to speak English to live here.”
  • “You will make the neighbors uncomfortable.”
  • “You have to be married to live together.”
  • “It will be an extra $50 a month per kid.”
  • “People who live here can’t wear those veils (hijab).”

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