Discriminatory Housing Practices

Persons with psychiatric disabilities often have a very difficult time obtaining a rental unit or other housing. Some people actually believe that it’s ok to reject a rental application or to evict an individual simply because “other people don’t like his looks” or she makes people uncomfortable. Well, it’s not all right to do these things, IT’S ILLEGAL!

There are state and federal laws to protect persons with psychiatric disabilities from housing discrimination, and to make sure that they receive equal access and opportunity to enjoy the property as other tenants.

There may be obvious signs that a landlord is discriminating. For example, she or he may specifically ask about a person’s treatment, or whether he or she takes medications. This can indicate that the landlord is reacting to the person’s disability, and that the refusal to rent could be based upon the disability. This is illegal. In some instances, the refusal to renew a lease may be discriminatory.

On other occasions, the landlord may use a more neutral sounding excuse to justify a refusal to rent. For example, they may refuse to provide a rental application, stating that apartments are no longer available, even though they are still running ads in the paper. Sometimes they will demand a larger security deposit or higher rent than for other tenants.

Persons with disabilities also have the right to reasonable accommodations. These are waivers of landlord’s policies or rules that prevent persons with disabilities from having the same opportunity to housing as per persons without disabilities. Refusing a reasonable accommodation can be discrimination.