Can I Sue for Racial Discrimination in Housing?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Finding housing is extremely important but unfortunately difficult for some. If you find yourself facing racial discrimination from potential housing providers, like landlords, you should talk to an attorney immediately.

Racial discrimination in housing is wildly illegal. There are laws prohibiting such discrimination at the federal level, and nearly every state has its own anti-discrimination laws. If you are denied housing or are the victim of some racially motivated, unfair housing practices, you can sue the person or people responsible. Racial discrimination in housing might take many forms. You could be turned away from housing because of your race or be the victim of unfair practices like rent hikes. You may sue both private and public entities for racial discrimination. Private people like landlords and public entities like public housing providers cannot racially discriminate. Damages may be significant, as racial discrimination in housing is a very serious violation of your civil rights.

If you were denied housing because of your race, contact our civil rights attorneys by calling The Law Office of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586 and scheduling a free case review to begin.

Suing for Racial Discrimination in Housing

The United States has an unfortunate history of racial discrimination. What is worse is that many discriminatory practices still happen even though numerous laws forbid them. One example is racial discrimination in housing. This might occur if you are unfairly treated by a landlord or other party providing housing because of your race.

Racial discrimination in housing is illegal. If you are the victim of such discrimination, you can talk to an attorney and sue the people responsible. There are laws at both the state and federal levels that prohibit this kind of behavior. Perhaps the most prominent and well-known antidiscrimination laws come from the Fair Housing Act. This is a federal law that prevents people and government agencies from discriminating in matters of housing based on numerous factors, including race.

Many states have passed their own anti-discrimination laws. For example, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act forbids numerous forms of discrimination, including in areas of housing. Talk to our civil rights lawyers about your case to determine if you should file your claims at the federal or state level.

What Does Racial Discrimination in Housing Look Like?

One of the most challenging parts of a case involving racial discrimination in housing is identifying and articulating the defendant’s discriminatory behavior. Defendants often do not admit their actions are racially motivated, leaving plaintiffs to speculate about the truth.

One example is when landlords refuse to rent to someone due to race. This might be due to the landlord’s personal biases against certain groups of people or perceptions about the neighborhood. For example, historically, African Americans have had difficulty renting apartments or homes in “white” neighborhoods. Landlords would deny housing on the basis of race to keep neighborhoods from becoming diversified. Call a lawyer immediately if you believe you were denied an opportunity to rent because of your race.

Instances of racial discrimination have also been noted in areas of public housing. Public housing is designed for eligible, low-income people and families who might be unable to afford traditional housing like buying or renting. The intent is to prevent people from becoming homeless. Public housing is typically run by governmental entities, such as the state or local authorities. If you are denied access to public housing because of your race, you should contact an attorney.

Not all discrimination involves flat-out denying people access to housing. Racial discrimination might instead involve discriminatory practices by landlords against current tenants. For example, if you notice all the families of color in your apartment building have experienced much higher rent increases than white families in similar apartment units, there might be some racial discrimination at play.

Who You Can Sue for Racial Discrimination in Housing

One of the worst things about racial discrimination in housing is that victims often feel helpless. The people perpetuating this racist behavior are often in positions of authority. In some cases, potential plaintiffs are unsure who they should sue, as multiple parties might be involved. Remember, you can sue private people, businesses, and governmental entities for this kind of discrimination.

Private Entities

Antidiscrimination laws like the Fair Housing Act or various state antidiscrimination laws apply to numerous entities, including private citizens. While people are often free to conduct business and maintain relationships as they see fit, there are some restrictions when it comes to discriminatory practices. Landlords, including individual people or larger property management companies, may be sued for racial discrimination.

This is important to note, as racial discrimination might come from anyone. The defendant might be one person you are renting an apartment from. The defendant might instead be a large property management company that owns your apartment building in addition to many others.

Government Agencies

As mentioned earlier, racial discrimination in housing might come up in cases where plaintiffs were discriminated against in public housing. The nature of public housing means that it should be available to anyone as long as they meet the necessary criteria. These criteria cannot include racial components. The fact that you belong to a particular racial group should not preclude you from public housing.

If you are discriminated against in public housing, you can sue the governmental entity in charge. This can be tricky, as you might be unsure which government entity or agency discriminated against you. For example, perhaps the public housing you were denied is run by your local city authorities, but they were operating under racist practices and rules imposed at the state level. Talk to an attorney about who should be named in your lawsuit.

Speak to Our Civil Rights Attorneys if You Experienced Discrimination from a Landlord

If you experienced discrimination in housing because of your race, contact our civil rights lawyers by calling The Law Office of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586 and scheduling a free case review to begin.


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