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Fair Housing
Equal Housing Opportunity
The City of Brooklyn Center does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability in the admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its services, programs, or activities. Upon request, accommodation will be provided to allow individuals with disabilities to participate in all City services, programs and activities.

The Federal Fair Housing Act and the Minnesota Human Rights Act
The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:
  • Race or color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians; pregnant women and people securing custody of children under 18)
  • Handicap (disability)

Visit Hud.gov for more information on Federal Fair Housing Laws and LawHelpMN.org for information on tenants' rights in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Human Rights Act (Statute 363A) mirrors the federal legislation, prohibiting discrimination based on:
  • Race or color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians; pregnant women and people securing custody of children under 18)
  • Handicap (disability)

Additionally, it prohibits discrimination based on:
  • Sexual or affectional orientation
  • Marital status
  • Creed
  • Status with regard to receipt of public assistance


What housing is covered?
Fair housing covers most housing. In some circumstances, fair housing laws exempt 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.

What actions are prohibited?
In the sale and rental of housing: No one may take any of the following actions:
  • Refuse to rent or sell housing
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Deny a dwelling
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Provide different housing services or facilities
  • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale or rental
  • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting)
  • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing
In mortgage lending: No one may take any of the following actions:
  • Refuse to make a mortgage loan
  • Refuse to provide information regarding loans
  • Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points or fees
  • Discriminate in appraising property
  • Refuse to purchase a loan 
  • Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan
In addition: It is illegal for anyone to:
  • Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right
  • Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap (disability). This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applied to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.

Additional protections if you have a disability
If you or someone associated with you:
  • Have a physical or mental disability(including hearing, mobility and visual impairments, cancer, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex and mental retardation) that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Have a record of such a disability
  • Are regarded as having such a disability
Your landlord may not:
  • Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing. (Where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move)
  • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing
Example: A building with a "no pets" policy must allow service animals as defined by the Americas with Disabilities Act, such as a person with visual impairments to keep a guide dog.

However, housing need not be made available to a person who is a direct threat to the health or safety of others or who currently uses illegal drugs.

Also see Fair Housing for Seniors with Disabilities

or see Hud Disability in Housing

Requirements for new buildings
In buildings that are ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, and have an elevator or four or more units:
  • Public and common areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities
  • Doors and hallways must be wide enough for wheelchairs
  • All units must have:
    • An accessible route into and through the unit
    • Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls
    • Reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars
    • Kitchen and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs

If a building with four or more units has no elevator and will be ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, these standards apply to ground floor units.

These requirements for new buildings do not replace any more stringent standards in State or local law.

For more examples and information on this topic, see Reasonable Accommodations in Housing provided by LawHelpMN.org




Housing opportunities for families
Unless a building or community qualifies as housing for older persons, it may not discriminate based on familial status. That is, it may not discriminate against families in which one or more children under 18 live with:
  • A parent
  • A person who has legal custody of the child or children
  • The designee of the parent or legal custodian, with the parent or custodian's written permission

Familial status protection also applies to pregnant woman and anyone securing legal custody of a child under 18.

Exemption: Housing for older persons is exempt from the prohibition against familial status discrimination if:
  • The HUD Secretary has determined that it is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or Local government program
  • It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older
  • It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates an intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

A transition period permits residents on or before September 13, 1998 to continue living in the housing, regardless of their age, without interfering with an exemption

Where can I file a fair housing complaint or find out more about fair housing and tenants' rights?
These agencies may be able to provide you with important information or help you file a housing complaint:

  PH: 612-728-5767 or 866-866-3546

  PH: 800-669-9777  or TTY: 800-927-9275


  PH: 612-334-5970 or TTY: 612-332-4668

  PH: 651-296-3353 or 800-657-3787 or TTY: 800-366-4812

  PH: 651-296-5663 or TTY: 651-296-1283 or 800-657-3704

Before you contact any of the above organizations to file a discrimination complaint, it would be beneficial to have the following information available:
  • Your name and address
  • The name and address of the person your complaint is against
  • The address of the housing involved
  • A short description of the event that caused you to believe your rights were violated
  • The date(s) of the alleged violation




Where can I get legal advice?
Hennepin County Courts offers free legal advice through their "Legal Access Point Clinics". For clinic hours, visit mncourts.gov/Help-Topics/Self-Help-Centers.aspx. Don't forget to check out their Self-Help Center while you are there.

Community Action Partnership, in collaboration with Volunteer Lawyers Network, has begun offering legal services clinics in suburban Hennepin County.  For dates and times, visit the Volunteer Lawyers Network website