How to File a Housing Discrimination Complaint in Florida

Residents have the right to file housing discrimination complaints in Florida when unlawful biases occur during the process of obtaining a rental, purchasing a home or securing financing. The housing discrimination complaint process begins with the Florida resident determining whether he or she has a case. Various types of housing discrimination exist, so determining which type of discrimination has taken place is crucial before filing a complaint. Individuals can discover how Florida Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) looks out for the rights of residents, disabled persons and veterans specifically in our comprehensive Florida guide here. To learn more about how to file a housing discrimination complaint in Florida, select from the topics below:

  • Types of housing discrimination in Florida
  • Florida housing discrimination complaint process
  • How to file a housing discrimination complaint in Florida

Types of Housing Discrimination in Florida

Florida residents should know how to file a housing discrimination complaint in Florida as well as how to identify when housing discrimination occurs. There are different types of housing discrimination that a person can experience in Florida. Residents can file Florida housing discrimination complaints when the discrimination occurs based on personal and situational biases that are against federal or state laws. Housing discrimination laws pertain to private and public housing in Florida.

Some of the types of housing discrimination that occur in Florida include biases against the family status or structure. It is illegal for a building manager or a landlord to refuse to rent to a Florida resident because they have children, plan on family a family or are pregnant. Housing discrimination complaints are also valid if housing biases rest on the applicant being a single parent, divorcee or guardian of a special circumstance dependent. This also includes families who have adopted a child, are fostering children or caring for extended family members. Correspondingly, the landlord cannot demand different loan or leasing conditions because of the family's status. The only exclusion from this type of housing discrimination is if the building is restricted to seniors or owned by a religious organization.

Many housing discrimination laws are the same as those for wrongful terminations in Florida. Landlords cannot refuse to rent to someone simply because of their race, ethnicity or country of origin. It is one of the types of housing discrimination if the landlord asks where the potential renter is from originally or if he or she asks the renter's race. Likewise, property managers cannot ask about religion or religious practices. One the more contemporary types of housing discrimination is against those who have had gender changes or who practice alternative lifestyles. Florida views this type of housing discrimination as illegal and as valid in a court of law as if the landlord were refusing to rent to someone based on race or religion. 

Sometimes the type of housing discrimination in Florida will come in the form of discrimination based on the tenant's receipt of public assistance (vouchers) to assist with rental costs. It is illegal for a landlord to discriminate against a renter or potential renter based on their enrollment in a Florida affordable housing program.

Of all the types of housing discrimination in Florida, refusing to rent to the disabled still stands as one of the main forms of housing discrimination in the state. There are special programs for disabled Florida residents to protect their rights as well as obtain housing. Landlords or building managers are breaking the law when they refuse to rent to someone who is disabled or who increase the rental price. Disabled residents can file housing discrimination complaints if the landlord gives them misleading information such as lying about the unavailability of rentals. The landlord cannot ask for medical records or discuss the disability in any way, unless to make reasonable accommodations for the tenant such as setting up reserved parking.

Florida Housing Discrimination Complaint Process

The first step in the Florida housing discrimination complaint process is for the resident to file a complaint with a local HUD office. After submitting Florida housing discrimination complaints, a specialist will review the claim and determine if it violates the Fair Housing Act. During the process of how to file a housing discrimination complaint in Florida, officials may contact the petition for additional information. A fair housing case worker will also contact the petitioner to go over the points of the case and will even assist in filing addition paperwork, if needed. A hearing will be set on valid claims so a judge can make a ruling. If the petitioner wins, then the recovery can be that of a monetary value or similar compensation. Petitioners can find out why using a legal representative can be helpful in our free guide here.

How to File a Housing Discrimination Complaint in Florida

Residents have up to a year to learn how to file a housing discrimination complaint in Florida from the date when the discrimination occurred. A crucial part of the housing discrimination complaint process is documenting the experience with the details of the situation. Housing discrimination complaints in Florida include data about the individuals involved as well as the housing or lender information, as applicable. It is important to be as detailed as possible, including the name of the persons involved and contact information. Include in the Florida housing discrimination complaint the conversation and actions that occurred. For example, if the petitioner was denied private or public housing or a loan and on factor (disability, gender, etc.). Residents can file housing discrimination complaints online, over the phone or at local HUD offices. Residents can find comprehensive information about filing a housing discrimination complaint in our free Florida guide by clicking here.

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What Housing Assistance Is Available Through the HUD?

Government benefits and loans are available to Florida residents through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Residents can also go through the HUD to obtain housing counseling and file various complaints related to housing. To learn more about the benefits offered through this department and how to qualify for them, download our comprehensive HUD guide.


Who Qualifies for Housing Assistance in Florida?

Qualifications for housing assistance in Florida vary based on the specific housing program that claimants are applying for. Typically, applicants must meet certain income qualifications based on their household size, and sometimes petitioners are placed on waiting lists. Learn more about housing assistance eligibility here.