The Fairfax County Human Rights Commission recently released a Fair Housing Report yielding the results of a nearly two-year testing period to measure practices in renting, sales, and lending as it pertains to race, national origin, and disability.
“In general, the rental tests showed housing providers were more likely to give White testers more detailed information, respond more frequently to their messages, and offer more favorable terms than to their matched pair counterparts,” the report stated.
The numbers reported for lending and sales markets “clearly show that historical practices of segregating neighborhoods through steering or offering no or worse loans to Black individuals is still very much an issue today.”
The Fairfax County Office of Human Rights and Equity Programs (OHREP) ensures equal opportunity and to promote justice, diversity, and inclusiveness by protecting the civil rights of all in Fairfax County. OHREP receives and investigates complaints alleging violations of the Fairfax County Human Rights Ordinance and manages the County’s Fair Housing Plan. The office also provides education and outreach services for a variety of audiences – including landlords, property managers, lenders, and residents.
What Does Housing Discrimination Look Like?
Some examples of housing discrimination are as follows:
Refusing to rent to a family with children under 18
Refusing to rent or sell a home to someone of a particular race, religion, or skin color
Targeting a particular group for unfavorable loan terms or deceptive lending practices (predatory lending)
A landlord refusing accessible parking or otherwise denying access to the housing accommodation of a person with a disability
Housing advertisements that express a preference for people of a certain race, sex, or religion
Making references to the composition of the neighborhood in which a property is listed to discourage a home purchase
Treating one tenant less favorably than others in the terms of the property rental, maintenance, and/or repair because of their race, religion, sex, or other protected characteristic.
Harassment by a landlord based on race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, etc.
If you feel you have been a victim of housing discrimination and would like to file a complaint, please complete the online questionnaire or contact OHREP at 703-324-2953, TTY 711.