Fair Housing Center of West Michigan

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Signs of Possible Discrimination

  • A refusal to sell, rent or show available housing
  • Offering different terms to different people
  • A statement that the dwelling is not right for your family
  • The dwelling has an "Available" sign, but you are told it is not available
  • Steering to certain communities or neighborhoods based on race, ethnic composition, or familial status
  • Terms or availability change between a phone contact and an in-person visit
  • You are not contacted after acceptance of your application
  • An unreasonable refusal to provide a mortgage loan or home owners insurance
  • You are harassed or intimidated
  • You are offered service or treatment that seems inappropriate

If you or someone you know has experienced one or more of these possible signs of discrimination, please report it.  When people are denied housing, mortgages, or insurance because of discrimination, it's not just illegal or just a personal insult.  It also makes our neighborhoods less diverse and welcoming, and it can force people into housing that may not meet their needs. We do our best to ensure that illegal discrimination does not stop anyone from living in the housing of their choice; however, we can't do it alone.  We need your help to end housing discrimination.

Protected Classes

Fair housing laws protect all individuals seeking housing, including renters, homebuyers, persons obtaining a mortgage or homeowners insurance, and others.  The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of the following "protected classes":
• Race
• Color
• Religion
• National origin
• Gender
• Disability or
• Familial status (presence of children under the age of 18 and pregnancy).

Also, the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act extends the protections afforded by the Fair Housing Act, and further prohibits discrimination in housing because of:
• Marital status or
• Age.

Finally, some cities and local governments have enacted fair housing ordinances which further expand upon fair housing protections, and may prohibit discrimination in housing because of:
• Source of income
• Sexual orientation
• Gender identity
• Height
• Weight or
• Public assistance recipient status


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20 Hall Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507

Phone: 616-451-2980
Toll-free: 866-389-FAIR
Fax: 616-451-2657

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