Fair Housing

Fair Housing
The information on this page is intended to provide an overview of fair housing laws.Fair Housing laws protect renters and home buyers against housing discrimination by landlords and housing providers. Fair housing laws apply to housing that is sold, leased or rented including, but not limited to, apartments, homes, condominiums, shared housing arrangements and a variety of other housing situations.

Renters and home buyers in Washington State have the right to equal housing opportunity and may not be discriminated against for race, color, national origin or ancestry, family with children, religion, sex (gender), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or military.

Fair housing laws prohibit discriminatory actions against applicants/residents of housing based upon a protected class by engaging in certain practices, including, but not limited to:

  • Refusing to rent/sell housing or saying that available housing is unavailable (i.e., expressing or publishing a preference/limitation/discrimination based upon a protected class, steering to a different housing service or facility, etc.)
  • Setting different terms, conditions, or privileges (i.e., establishing different rules for applicants/residents based upon a protected class)
  • Failing to provide reasonable accommodations or modifications to persons with disabilities (see flyer (PDF))
  • Retaliating against an applicant/resident for raising his/her fair housing rights
  • Enforcing a rule/policy that does not appear to be discriminatory, but that adversely affects applicants/residents of a protected class

Information about Fair Housing in Snohomish County, what fair housing covers and what rights or obligations there are for renters, home buyers, landlords and housing providers, can be found at links along the right portion of this page.

Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA)
HUD Portal The Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of dwellings based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

The FHA was amended in 1988 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability or familial status and require accessible units as part of multifamily units built after 1991.

Exemptions from FHA
Housing developments for seniors, housing strictly reserved for members of religious organizations or private clubs, multifamily housing of four units or less with the owner occupying one unit.

Washington Fair Housing Law
Offers the same protections as Federal Fair Housing Act plus marital status and sexual orientation/gender status. This law is enforced by Washington State Human Rights Commission.