Wooden house cutout on a scale


J. Courtney Cunningham April 20, 2023

National origin discrimination is a form of discrimination that occurs when someone is treated unfairly because of their country of origin, ancestry, or ethnicity. In the United States, national origin discrimination is prohibited by the Fair Housing Act (FHA), a federal law that aims to ensure equal housing opportunities for all individuals.

Under the FHA, it is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their national origin in any aspect of renting, buying, or financing housing. This includes actions such as refusing to rent or sell a property, setting different terms or conditions for housing, and denying a loan or mortgage.

Examples of national origin discrimination in housing could include landlords who refuse to rent to tenants from certain countries, real estate agents who steer buyers away from certain neighborhoods based on their ethnicity, or lenders who deny mortgages to borrowers with certain foreign-sounding names.

The FHA also prohibits harassment based on national origin. This could include verbal or physical abuse, intimidation, or threats directed at someone because of their national origin. Additionally, landlords are required to take steps to prevent harassment by other tenants, such as addressing complaints and taking appropriate disciplinary action. Many states and localities also have their own anti-discrimination laws that provide additional protections.

If you or someone you know believes they have experienced national origin discrimination in housing, they can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The complaint must be filed within one year of the alleged discrimination, and HUD will investigate the claim and take appropriate action if it is found to be valid. A lawsuit can be filed within two years of the last act of discrimination.

Some steps that individuals can take to prevent national origin discrimination in housing include educating themselves on their rights under the FHA, reporting any incidents of discrimination to HUD or other appropriate authorities, and seeking the assistance of a housing discrimination attorney if necessary.

In conclusion, national origin discrimination in housing is illegal under the Fair Housing Act and other federal, state, and local laws. It is important for individuals to be aware of their rights and to take action if they believe they have experienced discrimination. By working together to prevent discrimination, we can ensure that everyone has equal access to housing opportunities regardless of their national origin.