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Housing Discrimination Rights of Persons with HIV and AIDS

Housing Discrimination 1 1

The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits the denial of housing to a person based on the Person’s membership in one or more of the classes protected under the Act.

The protected classes are:

· Race

· Color

· Religion

· National Origin

· Sex (including discrimination because one’s sexual orientation/gender identity)

· Familial Status

· Disability.

Under the Act, disability means with respect to a person:

· A physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities,

· A record of such an impairment or

· Being regarded as having such an impairment. The term does not include current, illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance.

In the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s regulations, both HIV infection and AIDS are considered to be an impairment. Also, federal cases have defined HIV infection and AIDS as a disability. It is therefore illegal to discriminate against a person in the provision of housing because that person has HIV infection or AIDS; has a record of having HIV infection or AIDS; is perceived as having HIV infection or AIDS; is associated with persons with HIV infection or AIDS; or has a person with HIV infection or AIDS residing with them. Examples of illegal discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act based upon a person’s disability are:

· False Denial of Availability. Advising that there are no available units because a person has a disability when, in fact, there are available units.

· Refusal to rent or sell because of a disability. “We do not rent to persons who have AIDS or who have friends with AIDS.”

· Statements indicating discrimination preference or limitation. “We do not accept people with HIV/AIDS at this property.”

· Discriminatory terms and conditions and provision of services or facilities. “The rent is $200 higher for persons with a disability or persons with friends with a disability.”

· Refusal to permit a reasonable modification to the unit at the expense of the person with a handicap, in order that the person may have full enjoyment of the unit. “You may not install grab bars in the bathroom.”

· Denial of a reasonable accommodation to the rules and regulations of rental in order that the person with a disability may have equal opportunity to use and fully enjoy their unit. “It’s against the rules to have another person live with you, even though there is enough room, and the person is necessary to help you with your health needs.”

Who to contact if you believe you have been discriminated against: HUD: 800-440-8091​ or online (English and Spanish online complaint forms) Tennessee Human Rights Commission:​ 865-594-6500 or West Tennessee Legal Services: 731-423-0616 ext. 1250 or Tennessee Fair Housing Council: 615-874-2344 or

For more information on the Fair Housing Act, see this presentation.

This page is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice from an attorney. All information was accurate at the time of posting. If you have further questions about this information please call 1-800-372-8346 or click here to apply for our services.