Fair Housing & Advertising
There are very few exemptions under fair housing laws as it relates to advertising. This is largely due to the impact of advertising.
Advertising in violation of fair housing laws can take many forms including:
- Print ads which state a refusal or preference against rental or sale due to someone’s protected class status, such as “no kids,” “Jewish neighborhood,” “Chinese preferred,” or “whites only.”
- Verbal statements or comments which indicate a denial or preference against rental or sales.
- A property who advertises for “adults only” but does not meet the requirements as housing for older persons.
- Advertising using human models which only contain white models despite area demographics.
- A landlord who posts a “whites only” sign in front of a complex pool.
- Roommate or housemate advertisements which include language indicating a preference for or against any protected group but same gender (ok to say female seeking female, for example).
- FHCCI Advertising for Roommates or Housemates Fact Sheet:
- FHCCI PSA Resource Page
- Miami Valley Fair Housing Center Fair Housing Advertising Word and Phrase List
- MIBOR Fair Housing Advertisement List
- HUD Memo on Advertising, January 9, 1995 (commonly called the Achtenberg Memo)
- HUD Memo on Name Preferences, February 23, 2006
- HUD Memo on Internet Advertising:
- HUD Advertising Appendix Part 109 (Please note that this Appendix was withdrawn by HUD but is still used by HUD for guidance and recommendations of policy.)
- Fair Housing Statute and CFR References (including advertising)
- HUD Logo: If you’re interested in downloading a HUD logo for advertisements
Cases of Interest:
- Chicago Lawyer’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. v. Craigslist, Seventh Circuit Appeals Court Ruling, March 14, 2008
- Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley, et al v. Roommate.com, Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Ruling, February 2, 2012
- Miami Valley Fair Housing Center v. The Connor Group, 2015
- National Fair Housing Alliance, et al v. Facebook, 2018
Reports of Interest:
- “FOR RENT: NO KIDS! How Internet Housing Advertisements Perpetuate Discrimination,” National Fair Housing Alliance, August 11, 2009.
- Why You Shouldn’t Market to ‘Active Adults’ by Nadine Green
- Discriminatory Housing Advertisements On-Line: Lessons from Craigslist, Rigel C. Oliveri 2010