Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

ohr

Office of Human Rights
 

DC Agency Top Menu

-A +A
Bookmark and Share

Fair Housing Resource Portal

Fair Housing Portal Graphic_Horiz_TC_4.23.2024.png

Sections On This Page:


1. What Is Fair Housing?

The goal of fair housing in the District is to establish a robust framework for safe, secure, and affordable housing, ensuring residents are free from discrimination and other obstacles. The DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) plays a pivotal role in this endeavor, investigating housing discrimination complaints and conducting community outreach and education on discriminatory practices. Our ongoing enforcement process ensures that individuals can file housing complaints, citing local or federal laws enforced by OHR, at no cost. Examples of prohibited discrimination include, but are not limited to:

  • Denying housing based on a protected trait (e.g., race, sexual orientation, and sex)
  • Misrepresenting housing availability due to protected traits
  • Declining to provide a loan due to an individual’s trait(s)
  • Encouraging relocation to specific areas based on traits

Additionally, our educational and outreach initiatives enable OHR to collaborate with District government agencies and community partners, facilitating events such as listening labs, panel discussions, trainings, and more. Each year, our Fair Housing Awareness Month, held in April for Fair Housing Month, centers on topics of interest identified by the DC community throughout the year.


2. Local and Federal Laws OHR Enforces

OHR enforces local and federal laws in DC regarding housing. Individuals have the right to file a claim of discrimination regarding one of more the laws below. These laws have been summarized for a better understanding for the community. However, please note that these summaries are for informational and educational purposes only and not as legal advice to apply to a particular situation, as every housing discrimination complaint is unique and requires careful examination. Individuals in need of legal advice should consult an attorney.
  • The DC Human Rights Act of 1977 (DCHRA)
  • Fair Criminal Record Screening for Housing

  • Rental Tenant Screening Violations

    • Parts of the Eviction Record Sealing Authority and Fairness in Renting Amendment Act of 2022, D.C. Code § 42-3505.10, also established a number of new requirements for District housing providers when they are screening potential tenants, including limiting the amount of fees a housing provider can charge during the application process and limiting the information a housing provider may request and consider during the screening process.
    • To file a complaint, please click here.
    • For more information, please visit:
  • Sealed Eviction Record Violations

  • Source of Income Discrimination in Housing

    • Under the DCHRA, it is unlawful to deny, directly or indirectly, any individuals the full and equal enjoyment of housing, including the rental of a dwelling, services, facilities, and privileges, based on a person’s “source of income. The Eviction Record Sealing Authority and Fairness in Renting Amendment Act of 2022 updated the protections under the DCHRA regarding source of income by adding the following:
      • Prohibiting discrimination based on past credit issues or rental payment history that occurred before a prospective tenant received a housing subsidy;
      • Prohibiting discrimination based on income level and credit scores unless required by federal law;
      • Creating a rebuttable presumption of discrimination if a housing provider charges any fees, deposits, or additional rent on individuals using income-based housing subsidies, which they wouldn't impose on those not using such subsidies.
    • To file a complaint, please click here.
    • For more information, please visit the following:

3. File a Complaint of Discrimination 

If you believe you have experienced housing discrimination based on one or more of the laws mentioned above, you are encouraged to use the following forms. If you have any questions about how to complete these forms, please contact OHR at [email protected].

5. Fair Housing Outreach and Education

  • Relaunch of Fair Housing Is Your Right Campaign
    • In April of 2024, to celebrate Fair Housing Month and the launch of OHR’s Fair Housing Portal, we updated and relaunched our “Fair Housing Is Your Right” Campaign. Originally created in the Summer of 2012, it aimed to educate DC residents about anti-discrimination laws in housing, in hopes of reducing discriminatory incidents and increasing reporting. The newly upgraded posters focus on highlighting the DC Human Rights Act’s 23 protected traits: sexual orientation, source of income (such as the use of housing vouchers), familial status and responsibilities (such as people with children), and homelessness.

Fair Housing Poster_Family Res_TC_4.2.2024.png  Fair Housing Poster_Homeless Status_TC_4.2.2024.png  Fair Housing Poster_Housing Voucher_TC_4.2.2024.png  Fair Housing Poster_Sexual Orientation_TC_4.2.2024 (1).png              

  • Fair Housing Month
    • Every April, OHR actively participates in Fair Housing Month by orchestrating comprehensive social media campaigns and organizing listening labs and community outreach events. These efforts focus on addressing pertinent housing topics, such as the intersection of COVID-19 and housing issues.
  • Trainings
    • OHR conducts various training on housing laws, issues, and general information. All OHR presentations emphasize OHR's jurisdiction in housing matters and the protected traits under housing laws, as well as provide an overview of relevant local and federal housing legislation.  Specific training sessions, such as 'Know Your Rights: The 23 Protected Traits in Washington, DC, delve deeper into the housing laws and protected traits. Our partnerships with stakeholders and government agencies facilitate enhanced understanding of these critical housing topics.
  • Listening Labs
    • Listening labs allow OHR to connect with community members on housing-related concerns. Listening labs typically feature an informative segment followed by a listening session, during which attendees can confidentially share their feedback and insights. The data and findings collected from listening labs help the planning of future events and the development of outreach materials, benefiting both OHR and its co-sponsoring agencies/groups.

Picture2.png

  • Social Media and Website
    • OHR disseminates its vast resources and maintains an active presence on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter/X. Initiatives like Protected Trait Tuesday campaigns aim to raise awareness about fair housing issues. Additionally, our social media content is integrated with OHR's website to provide comprehensive information and resources to the public.

Housing PT Tuesday.png

  • For previous outreach campaigns, please click here.

6. Additional Resources 

  • Annual Report:

    • OHR is required to annually report progress of DC Human Rights Act enforcement to the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia. The report includes case dockets, case closures, and benefits achieved by successful complainants. Additionally, the Director reports other annual activities of (OHR) and the Commission on Human Rights, including community outreach, education programs, compliance programs, mediation, and fair housing.