Fair Housing

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.  

As part of fulfilling this commitment, the city contracts with the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan to conduct systemic housing investigations and training opportunities throughout the year. A systemic 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.  

In the 2015-16 program year three systemic investigations were conducted, focusing on real estate agents and race discrimination, individual landlord investors and race discrimination, and companion animal acceptance. Information from these investigations is included in the following report:

  -  2015-16 Fair Housing Systemic Investigations Report

The Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan offered 16 training opportunities in the 2016-2017 program year involving 227 participants.

The City of Battle Creek held three community conversations to discuss the results of the 2016 Fair Housing Investigation on real estate agents and race discrimination:

  • Tuesday, May 30, 2017  COMPLETED (NOTES: LINK)  Held at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, 637 W. VanBuren St., Battle Creek, MI
  • Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm (NOTES: LINK)  Held at Second Missionary Baptist Church, 485 Washington Ave., N., Battle Creek, MI
  • Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm  (NOTES: LINK) Held at First Salem Missionary Baptist Church, 370 S.W. Capital Ave., Battle Creek, MI

Fair Housing press conference: Sept. 29, 2016

Watch Chris Lussier, city community development manager, speak about this year's testing of the impediments of fair housing, then watch Meredith Stravers, a member of the city's Human Relations Board, speak about her reaction to the findings.

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:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Marital status
  • Familial status

In addition, Battle Creek City Ordinances make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of: 

  • Sexual orientation/gender identity

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 

How do I report housing discrimination? 

If you suspect discrimination in a housing rental, sale, or mortgage lending transaction, you should:

  1. Document the behaviors, actions and/or conversations.
    1. Be specific
    2. Record addresses, dates, times, phone numbers, names of businesses, and any witnesses
    3. Keep records of advertising, communications, and other relevant information; and
  2. Contact the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan to make a complaint
    1. By phone: (269) 276-9100 or toll-free (866) 637-0733
    2. Online: www.fhcswm.org

Fair Housing Resources

   - Brochure on Fair Housing & how to register a complaint
   - 2013 Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing