Fair Housing Enforcement
Submit a discrimination inquiry with EHOC:
Call us at 1-800-965-EHOC(3462) or 314-534-5800
Do you know your housing rights?
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 along with the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 are collectively referred to as the Fair Housing Act. These combined laws make it illegal to discriminate in housing sales or rentals or in housing lending, advertising, insurance, appraisals and zoning on the basis of:
- National Origin
- Familial Status
There are several additions to the protections under the federal Fair Housing Act in Missouri and Illinois. These are listed below:
City of St. Louis
- Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression
- Source of Income
State of Missouri
State of Illinois
- Marital Status
- Age (40 and over)
- Military Status
- Unfavorable Discharge from the Military
- Sexual Orientation
- Order of Protection Status
- Even when illegal discriminatory actions are not intentional, they are still illegal.
- If a housing provider offers options to one applicant and not to another based on their membership in a protected class, that is illegal discrimination.
- If a housing provider makes assumptions about potential tenants or clients – about their ability to pay, about their likelihood of being “good” clients, about their potential for causing problems – based on their race, disability, nationality, accent, their family size, etc. – that is illegal discrimination.
- Treat everyone alike.
- Provide consistent and complete information to everyone
- Make decisions based only on objective criteria
- Do not make credit assumptions based on non-credit factors
- Single-family homes owned by private persons when a real estate broker and/or discriminatory advertising is used to rent or sell the home;
- Single-family homes not owned by private persons (such as corporations or partnerships) even if a broker is not used to rent or sell the home;
- Multi-family dwellings with five or more units, including rooming houses;
- Multi-family dwellings with four or fewer units, if the owner does not live in one of the units.
The law does not apply to non-commercial housing run by religious organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy solely to members.
Fines and damages assessed against those who have violated the Fair Housing Act total over $380,000,000 nationally! It is illegal to:
- Refuse to rent, sell or negotiate for housing; or
- Make housing unavailable or deny that housing is available; or
- Set different terms, conditions or privileges for the sale or rental of housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, familial status, disability, sex, or religion; or
- Deny or make different terms or conditions for a mortgage, home loan, homeowners insurance or other real estate related transaction
- It is illegal to advertise housing as available only to persons of a certain race, color, national origin, sex, religion or to those without disability or without children.
- It is illegal to “blockbust” for profit— to persuade owners to sell their homes by telling them minority groups are moving into the neighborhood.
- It is illegal to threaten, coerce or intimidate anyone attempting to exercise their fair housing rights.
Housing Discrimination Inquiries
Submitting An Inquiry
- Call us at 1-800-965-EHOC (3462) or 314-534-5800. Have all of the information available about your discrimination inquiry to discuss with our intake officer. The intake officer will take your information, and may counsel you and send you a complaint form, which could potentially be filed with the US Department of Housing & Urban Development, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, or the St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency or referred to a private attorney, based on our consultation with you.
- Submit an online inquiry. Click the button below to submit an online inquiry. After we receive your inquiry, EHOC will contact you to verify your information.
What you should know about submitting an inquiry to EHOC:
If you suspect someone has discriminated against you, contact EHOC first to make us aware of the issue. In some cases, talking to the alleged offender about the situation might harm our ability to investigate your case.
You have a year from the time of discrimination to formally file an administrative complaint with HUD and two years to file in federal court. You only have six months to file with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. But the sooner you report discrimination, the sooner we can begin our investigation.
This investigation may include the use of testing. The evidence gathered from testing can strengthen your case. If you file directly with an enforcement agency, you will not have any testing evidence to strengthen your claim.
EHOC will not forward your inquiry on to an enforcement agency or private attorney without talking to you first, and will not notify the respondent without talking to you first. Sometimes, EHOC is able to resolve inquiries while working directly with the housing provider or the person accused of discrimination. Other times, the person against whom you have alleged discrimiantion will not be notified until they receive a notice from HUD or another enforcement agency that an administrative complaint has been filed. It is essential that we have your full up-to-date contact information so that we can contact you about your inquiry.
We realize that sometimes people feel that they are not in a position to file a complaint. Please go ahead and use our online form. You can enter a pseudonym for your name (John or Jane Doe) or just write Anonymous. If we have the information about a discriminatory situation, we still may be able to conduct an investigation and work to end the discriminatory practice. You will not receive any monetary relief from any settlement in this situation, but you can feel satisfied that some action has been taken to end discrimination.
Fair Housing Investigation
Investigation Through Testing
Housing discrimination testing is a method used to uncover discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status or disability. Testing is a controlled procedure to determine differential treatment in the quality, content and quantity of information and services given to home-seekers by landlords, real estate agents, leasing agents and lenders. Testers are volunteers who may be reimbursed for expenses.
Who can be a Tester?
Testers must be 21 years or older, must be able to pass a criminal background check, must have reliable transportation, and must have excellent writing skills. Reasonable accommodations are made for testers with disabilities. Testers of all backgrounds are needed.
Becoming a housing discrimination tester
If you are interested, contact our Director of Testing Katina Combs at 314-534-5800 ext. 7015 or complete the Application Form at the link below:
Persons who are working in the housing industry are not recruited as testers.
Submitting a Claim to Federal and State Agencies
To file a discrimination complaint directly with the Department of Housing and Urban Development or with your local state fair housing enforcement agency, please click on think links below. **Please do not file with more than one agency at a time as this may duplicate efforts to investigate your complaint.
Tenant Education / Homeless Prevention Counseling
We educate tenants in St. Louis City and County on their rights under both Missouri Landlord – Tenant Law and the Fair Housing Act. If a tenant is having difficulties with their rental situation, EHOC Tenant Advocates can help them to understand their options and overcome barriers to maintaining safe and affordable housing. We do not generally provide legal representation to tenants unless there is a fair housing or housing discrimination issue. To speak to a Tenant Advocate, call 314-534-5800 or make a landlord-tenant inquiry online.