Title VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, also known as the federal Fair Housing Act, made it illegal to discriminate in the buying, selling or renting of housing because of a person’s race, color, religion or national origin. Sex was added as a protected class in the 1970s. In 1988, the Fair Housing Amendments Act added familial status and disability to the list, making a total of seven federally protected classes. Federal fair housing statutes are largely covered by three pieces of legislation:
- The Fair Housing Act
- The Housing Amendments Act
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
State or local government may enact fair housing laws that extend protection to other groups as well. For example, the North Carolina Fair Housing Act includes the following protected classes: race, religion, sex, national origin, handicapping condition, familial status, or “except as otherwise provided by law, the fact that a development or proposed development contains affordable housing units for families or individuals with incomes below 80 percent or area median income.”
For more information, contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity or consult HUD’s Fair Housing Laws. You can also learn more from the Fair Housing Project of Legal Aid of North Carolina.
Complaint Process for HUD
Any person who feels their housing rights have been violated may submit a complaint to HUD via phone, mail or the Internet:
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 Seventh Street SW
Washington, DC 20410-2000
(202) 708-1112 or (800) 669-9777
Complaint Process for the North Carolina Human Relations Commission
In North Carolina, the North Carolina Human Relations Commission (HRC) accepts fair housing complaints as they are related to fair housing violations in regard to the federal Fair Housing Act or the North Carolina Human Rights Act. This agency accepts complaints that are alleged to occur in areas that are not covered by existing Fair Housing Assistance Program agencies.
Complaints can be submitted to the HRC by completing the Housing Discrimination Complaint Form, which requires information regarding who was involved in the alleged discriminatory act and where and when the alleged act occurred.
North Carolina Human Rights Commission
1318 Mail Service Center
116 W. Jones Street, Suite 2109
Raleigh, NC 27699-1318
(919) 807-4420 or (866) 324-7474