Fair Housing

United States federal fair housing statutes are serious business.

The Fair Housing Act (FHA), overseen by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has been around since 1968, but has grown in notoriety throughout the years especially as it relates to litigation in common interest communities (CICs).  HUD has an entire webpage with examples of housing discrimination and a page dedicated to reasonable accommodation and modifications.

The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In very limited circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent, and housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.

The most recent fair housing update especially relevant to community associations is FHEO Notice 2020-01: Assessing a Person’s Request to Have an Animal as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the Fair Housing Act (view more on our Emotional Support Animals & Pets page).

Protected Classes Covered by the FHA

49 States have their own fair housing / housing discrimination statutesSome of those statues include additional protected classes, definitions and nuances from the FHA.  As an example, Colorado's Fair Housing Act includes marital status.

*HUD published final rule 24 CFR 100 on September 14, 2016 addressing harassment.  <Click to expand👇 >

Harassment is focused on FHA protected classes (above).  View accommodation case law references.  Read You Can't Simply Look the Other Way.


Despite CAI's 20-page dissent, HUD defined harrassment (§ 100.600):

 and established that CICs can be found liable (§ 100.7):

As the commenter recognizes, a community association generally has the power to respond to third-party harassment by imposing conditions authorized by the association's CC&Rs or by other legal authority.[31] 

Community associations regularly require residents to comply with CC&Rs and community rules through such mechanisms as notices of violations, threats of fines, and fines. HUD understands that community associations may not always have the ability to deny a unit owner access to his or her dwelling; the rule merely requires the community association to take whatever actions it legally can take to end the harassing conduct.

International Property Maintenance Code 

Section 404 - Occupancy Limitations

International Property Maintenance Code - Section 404 - Occupancy Limitations