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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fair Housing Exclusions

QUESTION
A church in our area owns a residential building consisting of rentals and condominiums. It does not allow its housing to be rented by or sold to anybody who is not a member of their church. Isn’t that a housing violation?

ANSWER
The Fair Housing Act is the federal Act that, among other things, prohibits discrimination on the basis of various protected categories, such as on the basis of religion, with respect to the sale, rental, or advertising of dwellings, provision of services of facilities in connection with the sale or rental of a dwelling, and availability of residential real estate-related transactions (i.e., mortgage loans, appraisals, and so forth). 
[24 CFR §§ 100.5, 100.50, 100.110]

A dwelling is any building, structure, or portion thereof that is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families, and any vacant land that is offered for sale or lease for the construction for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure, or portion thereof. [24 CFR § 100.20]

The Act does not prohibit a religious organization, association or society, or any non-profit organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, from limiting the sale, rental or occupancy of dwellings that it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose to persons of the same religion, or from giving preference to such persons, unless membership in such religion is restricted because of race, color or national origin.
[24 CFR § 100.10(a)(1)]

Jonathan Foxx
President & Managing Director
Lenders Compliance Group