The Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act identifies seven classes protected by the law: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. State and local laws often extend these protected classes to include such characteristics as sexual preference, age, and even student status. The Fair Housing Act is a federal law, which covers most housing in the United States. In some circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members. For purposes of the Fair Housing Act, sexual discrimination includes sexual harassment which is defined as deliberate or repeated unsolicited verbal comments, gestures, or physical contact that creates an offensive environment and sexual favors sought in return for housing. With regard to familial status, families are defined as at least one child under the age of eighteen living with at least one parent or appointed guardian. It also includes pregnant women and those in the adoption process.