Fair housing is the right to choose housing free from unlawful discrimination. Federal, state and local fair housing laws protect people from discrimination in housing transactions such as rentals, sales, lending, and insurance.
As a condition of receiving HOME and other formula-based funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of Battle Creek is required to certify that it will affirmatively further fair housing. This requires the city to identify and address impediments to fair housing choice.
Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan
As part of fulfilling this commitment, the city contracts with the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan to conduct a variety of fair housing activities each year. These typically include responding to complaints, fair housing testing, systemic housing investigations, training, and activities that promote greater awareness of fair housing rights and responsibilities.
How do I report housing discrimination?
If you suspect discrimination in a housing rental, sale, or mortgage lending transaction, you should:
- Document the behaviors, actions and/or conversations.
- Be specific
- Record addresses, dates, times, phone numbers, names of businesses, and any witnesses
- Keep records of advertising, communications, and other relevant information; and
- Contact the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan to make a complaint
- By phone: (269) 276-9100 or toll-free (866) 637-0733
- Online: www.fhcswm.org
What is Prohibited?
Fair housing laws protect everyone from discrimination in the sale or rental of housing.
The following are examples of discriminatory actions when based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, age, marital status, disability, or gender identity/sexual orientation:
Refusing to sell or rent housing
- Refusing to negotiate for housing
- Harassment or intimidation
- Quoting a different monthly rent
- Limiting where you live if you have children
- Charging a higher security deposit
- Falsely informing you that housing is unavailable
- Setting different terms or conditions for rental or sale of a dwelling
- Providing different housing services or facilities
- Falsely denying that housing is available for inspection, sale or rental
- Advertising or making any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on the above protected statuses
- Refusing reasonable dwelling or common use area modification requests, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing
Systemic Fair Housing Investigations
A systemic fair housing investigation is an investigation of alleged discrimination that is pervasive or institutional in nature, or where the collection and analysis of data to develop a complaint will involve complex issues, novel questions of fact or law, or will potentially affect a large number of people. The City contracted with the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan to conduct the following investigations in recent years:
Focused on real estate agents and race discrimination, individual landlord investors and race discrimination, and companion animal acceptance.
Focused on the treatment of people of Hispanic or Burmese national origin in housing, criminal background and race in rental housing, and homeowners insurance and neighborhood race demographics.
Focused on real estate sales and race; and discrimination in rental housing on the basis of sex.
Fair Housing Laws
The Federal Fair Housing Act (1968, 1974 and 1988), Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976, and the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act of 1976 make it illegal to discriminate in the sale or rental of housing when the discrimination is based on any of the following:
- National origin
- Marital status
- Familial status
In addition, Battle Creek City Ordinances make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of:
- Sexual orientation/gender identity