The Fair Housing Act, a crucial component of U.S. civil rights legislation, plays a significant role in ensuring equal housing opportunities for all. As a landlord, you need to be aware of this law and understand the protected classes to avoid making any violations.

It's worth noting that the Fair Housing Act is not only applicable to landlords. All housing providers need to abide by this law and prevent any form of discrimination, including home sellers, lenders, appraisers, insurance providers, real estate agents, and anyone involved in a housing transaction.

What is Fair Housing and Why is it Important?

Fair Housing refers to laws that ensure all individuals have equal opportunities when searching for housing, whether as renters, buyers, or when seeking housing assistance. It’s vital as it promotes equal access to housing free from discrimination, playing a crucial role in fostering an inclusive community and helping to prevent segregation and economic inequality.

The act, established in 1968, was primarily aimed at eliminating discrimination in the renting, selling, and financing of housing based on factors that individuals have no control over like race, color, national origin, familial status, sex, religon, and disablility. Its purpose is to provide equal housing opportunities to every American, preventing housing discrimination.

Who Oversees the Act?

In the United States, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is responsible for overseeing Fair Housing Laws. The Department of Housing and Urban Development handles fair housing complaints, educates people about these laws, and provides annual reports detailing fair housing complaints and their resolutions.

judge banging a gavel with their other hand on a law book

What Type of Discrimination Does the Fair Housing Act Prohibit?

The Act prohibits various forms of housing discrimination to ensure equal access to opportunities for everyone. Here's a detailed look at each protected class under the act with examples:


House discrimination based on race is illegal under the Fair Housing Laws. For instance, a landlord refusing to rent to someone because of their race or using racial criteria when advertising a property would be violating the act.


The act forbids housing discrimination based on religious beliefs. An example of this would be a Connecticut landlord declining an application because the applicant practices a certain religion.

National Origin

This includes housing discrimination against individuals based on their national origin, country of origin or ethnicity. An example is a Connecticut landlord who charges a hirer security deposit to someone because they come from a specific country or speak a particular language.


The act prohibits housing discrimination based on sex. For example, suggesting certain apartments are more suitable for one sex over another or changing rental terms based on the Connecticut tenant's sex would violate the law.

Familial Status

This refers to housing discrimination against families with children or pregnant people. An example would be a landlord preferring to rent to single individuals or couples without children, or imposing different rental conditions on Connecticut families with children.

a family of four making food in the kitchen


Connecticut landlords must not discriminate against individuals with disabilities. For example, refusing to rent to someone because they have a disability, or not allowing necessary modifications to the property for accessibility purposes, would constitute discrimination. Additionally, landlords must provide reasonable considerations such as allowing emotional support animals or service dogs without charging pet deposits to tenants with a disability.

What Is the Fair Housing Act in Connecticut?

Under Connecticut landlord-tenant law, landlords are required to follow the protected classes imposed by the federal Fair Housing Act. There are no additional protections provided by the state outside the above-mentioned classes.

Exemptions to the Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act includes certain exemptions for specific circumstances or types of housing. These exemptions include:

  • Housing for Older Persons: Properties designated for individuals aged 55 or older are exempt.
  • Religious Organizations: These organizations can provide housing primarily to members of their own religion.
  • Private Clubs: Legally established private clubs may limit housing to their members. This is to maintain the exclusivity and specific nature of these clubs.
  • Local Law Occupancy Standards: Landlords can restrict occupancy based on local law standards. For example, if local laws set a maximum occupancy limit, landlords are allowed to adhere to these restrictions and without necessarily discriminating against tenants.
  • Owner-Occupied Buildings with Fewer Than Four Units: Small owner-occupied buildings are exempt from some provisions of the Fair Housing Act. This is to provide leeway to individual homeowners who share their living space with tenants.

black and gold judges gavel during a housing discrimination case

These exemptions are designed to balance the need for non-discrimination with the practicalities of specific housing situations and types of property ownership. However, they are relatively narrow and do not apply to most housing situations.

What Does Housing Discrimination Look Like?

Housing discrimination can manifest in various ways, from outright refusals to rent or sell to someone based on a protected class, to filing for an eviction without proper grounds. Other examples include imposing different lease terms or using discriminatory advertising. In Connecticut, landlords must be mindful when marketing their properties and selecting tenants.

How Can Connecticut Landlords Provide Fair Housing?

Landlords can ensure fair housing by using non-discriminatory language in advertising, treating all inquiries and applications equally, maintaining consistent pricing, having a standard tenant screening process, and providing equal treatment in maintenance and repairs.

They must not base any rental decisions on the protected classes and should provide reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities. Adherence to these guidelines not only aligns with the law but also promotes a fair and equitable housing market for all individuals.

Bottom Line

By understanding and adhering to Fair Housing laws in Connecticut, landlords and real estate professionals can contribute to a fairer and more equitable community. When in doubt, it's best to work with a reliable property management company. Contact Ardent Trust Property Management and we will be happy to assist you!

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this blog is intended for general guidance and should not be considered as a replacement for professional legal advice. It is important to be aware that laws pertaining to property management may change, rendering this information outdated by the time you read it.