Fair Housing Act (FHA)

SIGNED BY: Lyndon Johnson (FHA), Ronald Reagan (FHAA)

SIGNED ON: 1968 (FHA); September 13, 1988 (FHAA)

SIGNIFICANCE: The original Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin. Discrimination based on sex was added in 1974. When the law was amended in 1988, an important change was to forbid discrimination against people because of disability.

As amended in 1988 by the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), the Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits discrimination based on disability in the context of housing. The FHA regulates activities such as renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, and seeking housing assistance. The FHAA also requires that housing providers make reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications in order to allow people with disabilities to enjoy their housing—and so they can use it safely.

The FHA covers almost all housing, public and private.

Design and Construction Accessibility Requirements

The FHA’s design and construction accessibility requirements apply to “covered multifamily housing.” This sort of multifamily housing is any of the following:

To comply with the FHA, seven basic design and construction requirements must be met. In brief, these are:

More about the FHA

The Fair Housing Act is enforced administratively by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If you believe that you’ve been harmed by a violation of the FHA, you may file an administrative complaint with HUD. HUD will conduct an impartial investigation.

Although the FHA and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) both concern people who have disabilities, the specifics of the rules are rather different. For help with the FHA, the Northeast ADA Center recommends these resources:


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