the fair housing council


civil rights in housing

Our Mission and the Work We Do

The Fair Housing Council of Oregon (FHCO) is a statewide civil rights organization whose mission is to eliminate housing discrimination through access to enforcement and education. We are a nonprofit corporation, not a governmental agency.

We promote equal access to housing by providing education, outreach, technical assistance, and enforcement opportunities specifically related to federal, state, and local fair housing laws.

Fair housing laws apply to individual homes, duplexes, multifamily housing (apartments, condos, and townhomes), retirement housing, homeless shelters and other nonprofit housing, etc.

Fair housing laws affect all housing transactions including sales, rentals, mortgage lending, building and construction, home insurance, appraisals and inspections, etc.

It is essential the everyone be familiar with and must comply with fair housing laws! This includes: property owners, landlords and property managers, home sellers, sales agents and brokerage offices, multiple listing services, housing industry trade associations, builders and developers, condo and homeowners’ associations, mortgage lenders and appraisers, home insurance carriers, designated senior communities, long term care facilities, governmental jurisdictions, etc.

In addition, any employees or contractors who work for a housing provider must follow fair housing laws. Even housing consumers must comply. Your neighbors can’t, for example, harass or intimidate you because of your race, religious beliefs, etc.

What are Fair Housing Laws?

Historically and statisically, identifiable groups of people have received unfavorable treatment in housing transactions. In attempting to rent, buy, get a mortgage, or secure home insurance they have been denied, harassed, given less favorable terms and conditions, or experienced a lower level of service than other groups.

As a result, fair housing laws were enacted to protect against illegal housing discrimination based on “protected class status.” You can read the Fair Housing Act and other federal fair housing related laws and executive orders on our History of Fair Housing page, www.FHCO.org/history.htm

Do "Protected Classes" Get Special Rights?

The intention of federal, state, and local fair housing laws is to require that all individuals be given the same treatment, the same services, and offered an equal opportunity to live in a home of their choice. In other words, the same rights as everyone else--realize that all of us fall within one or more protected classes and are all, therefore, protected under the law! The only "special rights" are those provided to individuals with disaiblities in order to establish equal opportunity.


Federally Protected Classes:

race, color, national origin, religion, gender, familial status, and disability.

State and Local Protected Classes:

Oregon's fair housing laws include the following protected classes: marital status, legal sources of income, and sexual orientation / gender identity

In addition, Oregon effectively created another protected class for domestic violence survivors by adding language to the state's Landlord Tenant Act found in ORS 90.449. http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/090.html

Oregon's fair housing laws can be found in the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), Chapter 659A at http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/659a.html

Washington's fair housing laws include the following protected classes: marital status, sexual orientation / gender identity, and honorably discharged veterans / military status

In addition, Washington effectively created another protected class for domestic violence survivors by adding language to the Residential Landlord Tenant Act found in the Revised Code of Washington, Title 59, Chapter 18, Section 570, 575, 580, and 900. Each of these sections can be found at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=59.18

Washington's fair housing laws can be found in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), Title 49, Chapter 60. The appropriate sections can be found at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=49.60

Is Discrimination Still a Problem?

Visit www.FHCO.org/faqs.htm#StillAProblem for a discussion of this question and links to related studies and surveys.

Learn More about Fair Housing:

Visit our FAQ page at www.FHCO.org/faqs.htm to delve into more detail about fair housing laws, protected classes, and the work we do.

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"Thank You"

The FHCO would like to thank our partners and members for their support.
Their contributions and grants have helped to make the resources on this site possible.
Please join them in supporting our efforts!

If you have a fair housing question, or to report a fair housing complaint, please call 503/223-8197 Ext. 2 or 800/424-3247 Ext. 2 (TTY and translation available). Alternatively, you may call HUD at 800/877-0246.

Office Location:

1221 SW Yamhill Avenue #305, Portland, Oregon 97205
information@FHCO.org .| .503/223-8197 .| .Hotline 800/424-3247 Ext. 2

The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and the publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.

©1999-2014. FHCO. All rights reserved.