What housing practices are prohibited?
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and the federal Fair Housing Act prohibit many kinds of discrimination in connection with the sale or rental of housing. Under one or both of these laws, it is illegal to discriminate against you because of your:
- National Origin
- Familial Status (because you have children)
Unlawful acts include:
- Refusing to sell or lease housing to you;
- Refusing to finance housing;
- Discriminating in terms, conditions, services, or privileges;
- Publishing or printing any notice, statement or advertisement indicating a preference or discrimination;
- Saying that a dwelling is not available when it is;
- Trying to get people to sell their homes by telling them that persons protected by these laws are moving into their neighborhood (i.e. “blockbusting”);
- If you are disabled, refusing to permit you to make changes in your home to suit your disability;
- Asking questions or keeping records about whether you belong to a group protected by these laws;
- Discriminating against you because you use guide or support animals due to a disability;
- “Steering” you into or out of certain neighborhoods.
Discrimination Against Families With Children
These laws protect you from housing discrimination because of your “familial status” (because you have children). For example, your landlord cannot evict you before your lease ends because you become pregnant or give birth to a child. Also, someone cannot refuse to rent or sell housing to you because you have children, except in certain housing developments intended for and occupied by senior citizens.