Fair Housing laws protect immigrants, refugees, and people of all religious faiths
COFHA can help you
State and federal fair housing laws prohibit discrimination based on national origin, religion, and ancestry. See our mission statement for a complete list of all the people protected from discrimination and to see the services available to assist those who experience discrimination.
Fair housing laws protect immigrants, refugees and people of all religious faiths.
Call Central Ohio Fair Housing Association (COFHA) at 614-344-4663 if you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination because you are an immigrant or a refugee, because of where you are from, or because of your religious faith.
The fair housing laws protect you regardless of your immigration status.
It is illegal for landlords to treat you differently because of your immigration status, national origin, or religion. That means people involved in renting homes cannot:
- refuse to rent to you because you are an immigrant or refugee or because of your religious faith;
- refuse to rent to you because you are not from the United States;
- charge you more rent or a higher security deposit because of where you are from, your immigration status, or because of your religious faith;
- require you to get a co-signer because you are an immigrant, refugee or because of your religion;
- tell you not to cook food you like because of the smell;
- refuse to rent to you because you or some of your family members do not speak English;
- tell you that you must speak English when outside of your apartment;
- force you to choose an apartment near other people who are from the same country, speak the same language as you, or are of the same religion;
- enforce rules against you or your family because you are an immigrant or refugee or because of your religion but not enforce those rules against anyone else.
It is illegal for landlords to ask you to identify your religion.
It is illegal for landlords to ask you questions about your immigration status because of how you look, talk or dress.
Some landlords, owners, real estate agents, etc., might ask if you are in the country legally, ask to see your green card or visa, or ask for your Social Security number. If you think that you are being asked about your immigration status because of where you are from, call COFHA at 614-344-4663.
State and federal fair housing laws continue to protect you once you are living in your house or apartment. Landlords, owners, real estate agents, or anyone else may not:
- ask you to remove your head scarf, hijab, burka, keffiyeh, kippah, other religious clothing, or other religious symbol;
- evict you because of your religion, your immigration status, or your refugee status;
- threaten or harass you because of your religion, your immigration status, or your refugee status.
Thanks to the Connecticut Fair Housing Center for allowing us to use information and wording from their Know Your Rights page.
Harassment or threats include:
- Threatening to report you to the police or immigration authorities because of your immigration status;
- Saying you will be deported;
- Telling you to go back to your own country;
- Painting graffiti or writing on your home, including using slurs or threats to harm you or your family if you do not move out;
- Yelling racial, ethnic, or religious slurs at you and your family;
- Blocking access to your home, your belongings, or property amenities (like a swimming pool or laundry area)
You are also protected if you are buying a home or attempting to get a mortgage. If you believe you are being prevented from buying a home or getting a loan because of your immigration status, refugee status or your religion, call COFHA at 614-344-4663.
*There are some exemptions from the fair housing laws. Even if you think your landlord may be exempt from the laws, please call COFHA at 614-344-4663.
Donald Trump Is Targeting an Agency That Has Recovered $11.8 Billion for Consumers
January 30th, 2017 — Within days of being sworn in, President Donald Trump has already pledged to cut business regulations by 75%. One way he is likely to fulfill that promise, at least in part, is by defanging a legacy of the 2008 financial crisis: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
That could mean the functional end to the consumer watchdog, which has been responsible for returning roughly $11.8 billion to some 29 million consumers since its inception in 2011, according to data from the bureau. That's an average of $407 returned to each affected consumer, affecting roughly 9% of the U.S. population (assuming no single consumer was a victim in more than one case).
The agency was conceived by a group of consumer advocates including Elizabeth Warren (then a Harvard Law School professor and congressional advisor, and now a senator from Massachusetts), partly in response to reports of deceptive mortgage lending practices that helped precipitate the housing crash. Designed to safeguard consumers in their dealings with the financial-services industry, the CFPB has made moves to curb abuses in the payday, student, and auto lending industries. The agency has also focused on predatory lending practices that target low-income consumers that can ill afford their loans.
Read the entire article here.
Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Ohio-Based Banks to Resolve Allegations of Lending Discrimination
Settlement Provides $9 Million to Ensure Equal Lending Services to African-American Communities in Ohio and Indiana
December 29th, 2016 — The Justice Department filed a consent order today to resolve allegations that Union Savings Bank and Guardian Savings Bank engaged in a pattern or practice of “redlining” predominantly African-American neighborhoods in and around Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; and Indianapolis. “Redlining” is the discriminatory practice by banks or other financial institutions of denying or avoiding providing credit services to consumers because of the racial demographics of the neighborhood in which the consumer lives.
The settlement, which is subject to court approval, was filed in conjunction with the department’s complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The complaint alleges that Union and Guardian violated the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibit financial institutions from discriminating on the basis of race and color in their mortgage lending practices. The lawsuit alleges that, from at least 2010 through 2014, Union and Guardian served the credit needs of the residents of predominantly white neighborhoods to a significantly greater extent than they served the credit needs of majority African-American neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods are easily recognized because each of the four metropolitan areas in which the banks operate has long maintained highly-segregated residential housing patterns for African Americans. Both banks are headquartered in Cincinnati and share common ownership and management.
Read the entire article on the Department of Justice’s website.
Previous news items are available here.