What is Fair Housing Act?

Stating a discriminatory preference in a housing ad is illegal.

This law generally prohibits stating, in any notice or ad for the sale or rental of a dwelling, a discriminatory preference based on any of the following protected categories:

  • Race or Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • Handicap / Disability

Under the Fair Housing Act, the Department of Justice may bring lawsuits where there is reason to believe that a person or entity is engaged in a "pattern or practice" of discrimination or where a denial of rights to a group of persons raises an issue of general public importance.

Severe punishment for the violations of Fair Housing Act maybe:

  • Punitive damages up to $50,000 for the first violation, and $100,000 for subsequent violations plus damages in court.
  • Real estate license will be revoked if a real estate licensee is found guilty of placing an illegal notice/ad.

Please refer to Section 3604(c) of the Federal Fair Housing Act for the full explanation of the law. The Fair Housing Act provides additional protections, and limited exceptions, that are explained in publications from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") and the Department of Justice.

State and local laws often prohibit discrimination based on other factors (e.g. sexual orientation, age, marital status, or source of income). To find out the related laws in your state, contact your local Fair Housing Center.

HUD has issued guidance on advertising, including for roommates.

You may report housing discrimination to HUD at 1-800-669-9777.

When making any posting on findmyroof.com, you MUST comply with the Fair Housing Act and the Term of Use. Findmyroof.com will not be liable for your ad content, and you will be solely responsible for your ad.

patterns or practices


section 3604(c) of the federal fair housing act


Fair Housing Act


Department of Housing and Urban Development


Department of Justice


Fair Housing Center


guidance on advertising