A Few Exceptions to the Fair Housing Act

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The Fair Housing Act applies to all housing transactions (unless exempted by law, see below). Courts have applied the Act to individuals, corporations, associations and others involved in the provision of housing and residential lending, including property owners, housing managers, homeowners and condominium associations, lenders, real estate agents, and brokerage services. Courts have also applied the Act to state and local governments, most often in the context of exclusionary zoning or other land-use decisions.

Most types of housing properties are covered – leased or rented apartments; houses or condominiums that are sold, leased or rented; rooming houses; cooperatives; temporary shelters; mobile home parks; construction sites; and even empty lots. If you are uncertain whether a property is covered, contact any local fair housing agency and ask.

There are a few specific exceptions to the Fair Housing Act. The Act does not apply to:

  • A religious organization may give preference to persons of the same religion (unless restricted on account of race, color or national origin) in non-commercial transactions;
  • A private club may provide lodgings for members in non-commercial transactions;
  • An owner who owns four units or less and lives in one unit;
  • A private individual owner who does not own more than three single family houses, if the owner does not use the services of a broker, and if the owner does not use discriminatory advertising, and if the owner has not participated in three or more rental or sales transactions in a one year period;
  • Housing for elders may exclude families with children. For example, housing may be designated for people ages 62 years or older only. Also housing that serves people age 55 and older, where 80% of the housing is occupied by at least one person who is 55 or older, is exempt

In addition, the Fair Housing Act does not protect juvenile offenders, sex offenders, persons who illegally use controlled substances, and persons with disabilities who pose a significant danger to others.  For more information about that topic, please see previous blog posting.


To learn more about Fair Housing issues in Michigan (and many other topics affecting Michigan real estate professionals), please visit us at www.123ConEd.com. 123 ConEd LLC (www.123ConEd.com) is a leading online provider of continuing education courses to real estate professionals in Michigan. Our online Michigan real estate con ed courses are fully approved and properly certified by the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth. All of our courses are designed to offer our students the most information, as quickly and economically as possible.

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