The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of national origin. That means that people cannot be denied equal opportunity because they or their family members are from another country, have an accent or customs that associates them with a particular national origin group or because they do not speak English. Property owners who refuse to rent or negotiate housing on the basis of national origin are not in compliance with the Fair Housing Act. Other common violations include:
- Illegal evictions and taking advantage of people who may not know their rights
- Harassment by property owners, their staff or neighbors
- Unreasonable occupancy standards. In Virginia, roughly 50 square feet per person is the minimum requirement for occupancy and a landlord cannot require that children of different genders sleep in separate rooms.
Because victims often are unaware of their legal rights, national origin discrimination is often under-reported. Outreach and education is essential to decreasing national origin discrimination. If you are a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia and feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of color or national origin, contact Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia at 804-354-0641 or report the suspected discrimination.
Download our National Origin and Fair Housing factsheet.