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Bipartisan bill would expand FHA

Individuals looking to rent property in Michigan for themselves or their families may be denied by landlords if they receive assistance. However, a Senate bill that has the support of both parties would make that illegal. Specifically, it would broaden the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by banning landlords from discriminating based on income or because a person was a veteran. Currently, there is no federal protection against such discrimination.

There are protections in place for those attempting to rent in select cities and states throughout the nation. By allowing low-income individuals to live in better neighborhoods, they would likely have access to better jobs. They may also be able to live in areas that have quality schools for their children. Living in quality areas may also allow people to obtain better medical and other care. There are a couple of key hurdles that may prevent the legislation from passing.

One of its sponsors is going to be retiring in January, and it is uncertain whether it would get serious consideration in a Senate controlled by conservatives. Currently, there are about five million people who have access to federal Housing Choice Vouchers. The elderly, those who have served in the military and those with disabilities are among groups most likely to receive assistance. The vouchers are designed to help pay for a safe and sanitary rental home or apartment.

The Fair Housing Act generally prohibits discrimination by landlords and homeowners based on several different criteria such as race and gender. Those who believe that they have been denied a home or apartment because of their race, gender or family status may benefit from seeking legal counsel. It may be possible to obtain compensation or other relief from those who have violated local, state or federal housing laws.

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