Fair Housing Unit

Pursuant to a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Fair Housing Unit (FHU) was established to enforce the fair housing laws. It currently serves Duval, Clay, Nassau, St. Johns, Baker and Bradford counties. There are no income requirements for Fair Housing Unit clients. The JALA Fair Housing Unit is committed to zealously advocate on behalf of victims of housing discrimination and has a three-fold approach to accomplish this mission:

Education: The FHU educates housing consumers to recognize and report housing discrimination. If your group would like to receive a fair housing presentation, please call the hotline.

Investigation: The FHU conducts ongoing research and monitoring efforts to determine the nature and extent of housing discrimination being practiced in our community.*

Enforcement: The FHU may negotiate a settlement, represent a client in state or federal court, help file a case with a government agency, and/or advocate for the client throughout the process.

If you are interested in assisting the FHU with these efforts, please call our hotline for more information at (904) 356-8371 ext. 275.

State and Federal Fair Housing Laws

State and Federal Fair Housing laws prohibit discrimination in housing based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Familial Status
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Religion

Fair Housing laws forbid discrimination in most housing related transactions, including but not limited to:

  • Refusal to rent, sell or negotiate with a person who falls in one of the above protected classes.
  • Discrimination in the terms or conditions of a sale, rental, or in services or facilities.
  • Falsely denying housing availability.
  • Advertising in a discriminatory way.
  • Discrimination in financing, broker’s services, or homeowner’s insurance.
  • Refusal to make a reasonable accommodation or modification for a mentally or physically disabled person.

If you feel you have been a victim of discrimination in housing and your rights have been violated, call:
Fair Housing Unit: (904) 356-8371 ext. 275
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc.
126 West Adams Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202-3849

Housing discrimination can be subtle or it can be quite obvious.  Here are some helpful examples of discriminatory behavior which FHU could offer assistance:

Race, Color or National Origin Discrimination:

  • Your phone messages are not returned by the landlord or housing provider.
  • Your housing community has a “black side” and a “white side.”
  • You are told the house is rented; however you notice the house is still being advertised as available.
  • You are told the security deposit is $100.00 on the phone; yet you are told the deposit is $300.00 when you meet the owner or agent face to face.
  • You are white, and you are told that you cannot have visitors of a different race in your home.

Disability discrimination:

  • You request a reasonable accommodation for your disability and your housing provider refuses to comply.
  • You request to build a ramp, or make some other modifications for your disability at your own expense, and your landlord refuses.
  • You are evicted when the housing provider learns of your disability.

Sex discrimination:

  • You are sexually harassed by a member of the housing providers staff.
  • Your landlord requests that instead of paying rent, you provide sexual favors.

Familial status:

  • You are told “no kids.”
  • You are only told about units in the “kids’ area” of a complex or only shown units on the first floor when other units are available.
  • You are told that your children do not have access to facilities, such as the swimming pool or playground.

Religion:

  • Because of your religion, you are subjected to an increased security deposit.
  • You are told only about areas of town with a synagogue or mosque.
  • The rental advertisement states that the rental is for “Christians only.”

Although not protected classes as of 2011, do report suspected housing discrimination against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) persons or victims of domestic violence to the FHU for investigation.