Housing Harassment and Retaliation
The Fair Housing Act prohibits efforts to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any person’s fair housing rights. See 42 United States code 3617. This includes harassment and retaliation against a person exercising their fair housing rights.
Harassment may include discriminatory acts based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, and familial status. Examples of harassment that violate the Fair Housing Act include:
- A tenant repeatedly yelling anti-Muslim slurs at a Muslim tenant;
- Taunting, threatening, or making fun of a neighbor with a cognitive or mental disability;
- A maintenance employee making anti-LGBTQ comments to a bisexual tenant;
- A tenant telling an Asian tenant to “go home” and “stop spreading China flu”;
- Placing multiple anti-Semitic flyers around the home of a Jewish family; or
- Other tenants yelling racial slurs at their Black neighbor.
These examples are merely representative – harassment can take many forms.
Retaliation may include any adverse (negative) action taken against a person who tries to enforce their fair housing rights. For example, when a tenant reports a discriminatory practice or action to a housing provider, this complaint cannot lead to retaliation because the tenant has a right to try to enforce their fair housing rights. Even if the tenant’s complaint is unfounded or without basis, a retaliatory action based on that complaint is a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Examples of retaliation that violate the Fair Housing Act include:
- A tenant that coerces or threatens a housing provider to deny housing to a Hispanic applicant based on his national origin;
- A housing provider that threatens to evict a tenant who requests a reasonable accommodation related to their disability, such as a service animal;
- A housing provider that refuses to renew a tenant’s lease because they filed a HUD Complaint against the housing provider;
- A housing provider that raises a tenant’s rent after that tenant shared Fair Housing Act information with other tenants; or
- A housing provider that offers a female tenant free rent in exchange for sexual acts.
These examples are merely representative – retaliation can take many forms.
If you believe you have been the victim of harassment or retaliation in violation of the Fair Housing Act, you can file a HUD Complaint by calling: 1-800-669-9777 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) https://www.hud.gov/fairhousing/fileacomplaint%20.
It is illegal to retaliate against any person for making a complaint, testifying, assisting, or participating in any manner in a proceeding under HUD’s complaint process at any time, even after the investigation has been completed.
Hate Crime Reporting
The FBI makes preventing hate crimes a top priority. If you believe you have been the victim of a hate crime, you can file a report with the FBI by calling: 1-800-CALL-FBI or submitting a tip at tips.fbi.gov.
Idaho Legal Aid Services' Harassment and Retaliation Brochures
For more information on these issues, please view our Harassment and Retaliation Brochures here: https://www.idaholegalaid.org/node/2809/harassment-and-retaliation-brochure-english-and-spanish-espanol. For an audio recording of our Harassment and Retaliation video in English, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgTUhrRka78.
Idaho Legal Aid Services' Harassment and Retaliation Video
Please view the video on Harassment and Retaliation to learn about your rights under the Fair Housing Act:
English Version with Subtitles Available in Multiple Languages: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WN_lWSOYIZ8.
Spanish version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1ms7TaKb4E.