Fair Housing Policy

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Fair Housing Policy

Federal Fair Housing laws protect individuals from discrimination and promote equal access to rental housing and homeownership opportunities for virtually all housing in the country. The City of Columbia Heights is committed to fair housing and has developed a policy to further that goal. 

Columbia Heights Fair Housing Policy

Resolution No. 2022-24

Who is protected by fair housing laws? 

The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of: 

  • Race or color 
  • National origin 
  • Religion 
  • Sex 
  • Familial status 
  • Disability 

In addition to the discriminations listed above, the Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of: 

  • Sexual or affectional orientation 
  • Marital status 
  • Creed 
  • Status regarding receipt of public assistance 

What types of housing are covered? 

Fair housing laws cover most housing in the nation. In some circumstances, fair housing laws exempt owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members only. 

What actions are prohibited? 

It is unlawful 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 disability. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Federal Fair Housing Act. 

In the sale and rental of housing, no one may take any of the following actions because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin: 

  • 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 or attempt to persuade, owners to sell or rent (also known as “blockbusting”) 
  • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service related to the sale or rental of housing 

In mortgage lending, no one may take any of the following actions because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin: 

  • 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 
  • Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan 

What if I have a disability? 

Individuals with disabilities have all the same protections listed above. In addition, 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 individual 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 individual to use the housing. 

More information can be found on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website. The State of Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan also establishes key activities that our state must accomplish to ensure individuals with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else. 

If I believe my fair housing rights have been violated, who can I contact for legal aid? 

These agencies may be able to provide you with important information regarding fair housing or help you file a housing complaint: 

PH: (612) 728-5767 or 1-866-866-3546  

PH: (763) 783-4970 

PH: 1-800-669-9777 

TTY: 1-800-927-9275 

PH: (651) 296-3353 or 1-800-657-3787 

TTY: 1-800-366-4812 

PH: (651) 296-5663 

TTY: (651) 296-1283 or 1-800-657-3704 

Before you contact any of the above organizations to file a discrimination complaint, it would be beneficial to have the following information available: 

  • Your name and address 
  • The name and address of the person your complaint is against 
  • The address of the housing involved 
  • A short description of the event(s) that caused you to believe your rights were violated 
  • The date(s) of the alleged violation 

If I believe my fair housing rights have been violated, how do I file a complaint? 

Information on filing a fair housing complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can be found here. 

To file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, please visit their website. 

Who can I contact from the City of Columbia Heights if I have questions? 

Contact Minerva Hark, City Planner, at 763-706-3673, or mhark@columbiaheightsmn.gov