YOU have the right to fair housing!
“The Lay Person’s Version Of The Law”:
BOLI / HUD Rules Regarding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
• Discrimination in selling, renting or leasing residential housing is prohibited.
• Discrimination is prohibited based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, marital status, familial status or source of income. Landlords, sellers, agents, etc. may not inquire about a prospective tenant’s / purchaser’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
• “Sexual orientation” means an individual’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or gender identity (regardless of whether the individual’s gender identity, appearance, expression or behavior differs from that traditionally associated with the individual’s assigned sex at birth).
• Persons whose business involves engaging in residential real estate related transactions (for example, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, apartment brokers, etc.) may not discriminate against any person in making a transaction available, or in the terms or conditions of the transaction.
The law does not apply in the following instances:
• Room Mate Situations:
• The law does not apply if the housing in question would result in unrelated persons of the opposite sex sharing bath facilities or a bedroom.
• The law does not apply if the owner actually maintains and occupies the residence as the owner’s primary residence and all occupants share some common space within the residence.
• Senior Housing:
• Senior housing facilities (nursing homes, assisted living facilities, retirement communities) do not need to alter the nature of their operations by allowing families with children.
• This exemption does not apply to sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, housing for older persons must not discriminate against persons based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
• People have the right to the “quiet and peaceful enjoyment” of their homes, and to be free from harassment by their neighbors.
• If the harassment becomes threatening, you should call the police.
• Otherwise, speak to the landlord. The landlord is legally responsible to take appropriate steps to ensure your right to be free from harassment by your neighbors, up to and including evicting them. A housing provider is liable for a resident’s harassment of another resident when the housing provider knew or should have known of the conduct, unless the housing provider took immediate and appropriate corrective action. Housing providers often mistakenly believe the 1st amendment prohibits them from limiting discriminatory speech of their tenants, not understanding that 1st amendment prohibitions pertain to government actions, not private actions.
Reporting / Filing Complaints with BOLI
Note: If you experience discrimination in housing and wish to report, do the following:
• File a complaint with BOLI within 1 year of the last occurrence of the event (don’t wait until just before the deadline!).
• Be prepared to tell the BOLI staff: What happened? When? With whom? Why do you think this happened to you? BOLI staff will take this information and send it to an investigator who will get back to you regarding next steps.
• File the complaint by calling: 971-673-0764 or by sending an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
• It is also possible to give information to BOLI by completing a questionnaire, here: http://www.oregon.gov/BOLI/CRD/pages/c_crcompl.aspx
For Help in Determining Whether You Should File a Complaint:
- For Help in Determining Whether You Should File a Complaint:
- Give our friends over at Fair Housing Council of Oregon a call. They help people analyze potential discrimination complaints and assist them in pursuing their rights. Their web site is here: http://www.fhco.org/ and they run a hotline at (503) 223-8197 x2. Leave a message and feel free to ask for Elizabeth or Nicole.
- The Community Alliance of Tenants runs a renters’ rights hotline. It is a free service to all renters. People can call to talk about their situations with a trained hotline specialist. They are not attorneys so cannot give legal advice but they can give legal information, resources and practical suggestions. They can also refer renters to appropriate agencies/lawyers. The hotline number is 503-288-0130, and their website is here: http://oregoncat.org/
For More Information About the Law:
• State of Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI): http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/659A.421
• Federal Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD): http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=5359-F-02EqAccessFinalRule.pdf