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What Does Fair Housing Mean?

Fair housing means all persons have equal opportunity to be considered for rental units, purchase of property, housing loans, and property insurance.

What laws protect you from housing discrimination?

  • Local: Many cities have local civil or human rights agencies prohibiting housing discrimination. Contact your local city hall for information.
  • State: The Iowa Civil Rights Act (Iowa Code 216) prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, mental disability, physical disability, and familial status (presence of children in the home).
  • Federal: The Federal Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibits discrimination in housing because of race or color. The Civil Rights Act of 1968, Title VII, and the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1989 prohibit discrimination in housing because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and familial status.

What can you do if you believe you may have been discriminated against?

  • Contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission to find out about filing a housing discrimination complaint. A Fair Housing Specialist will assist you with information, and if you have grounds to file a complaint, will assist you in filling out a complaint form. There is no charge for the Commission's services. The Commission will also cross-file your complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to protect your rights if your situation falls under federal law.
  • A complaint must be filed within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory incident. A complaint can also be filed with HUD within one year or a private court action can be filed within two years.

Learn about what the Commission does to end housing discrimination?    

Fair Housing Publications