West Virginia Assistive Technology System

Laws That Protect You

Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:

  • Race or color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Family Status
  • Disability

The Fair Housing Act covers most privately owned housing, as well as Federally-assisted housing.  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.

If you or someone associated with you:

  • Has a physical or mental disability
  • Has a record of a disability or
  • Is 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 person with a disability to use the housing.
  • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations to rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the person with a disability to use the housing.

If you think your rights have been violated you may file a complaint.

Section 504

Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  It protects people with disabilities from discrimination in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance.

If you are a person with a disability and are otherwise qualified to participate in a program receiving HUD's assistance, such as public housing and some privately-owned housing, the agencies responsible for these programs (owners, in the case of privately-owned housing) must make a reasonable accommodation so that you are able to enjoy the full benefits and privileges of the program.

You are protected by Section 504 if you:

  • Have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities OR
  • Have a record of an impairment OR
  • Are regarded as having an impairment

HUD Programs covered by Section 504

  • Low-income housing - Section 8
  • Section 202 or Section 811 Housing
  • Community development program
  • Program for the homeless
  • Fair Housing Assistance Program

Section 8

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is the Federal Government's major program to help people afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market.

It is targeted at:

  • Low-income families
  • Elderly
  • Individuals with disabilities

Housing assistance is provided to the individual or family and participants are able to find their own housing, including single family homes, townhouses and apartments.

Eligibility is determined by the local Public Housing Authority (PHA) based on:

  • Total yearly income
  • Family size
  • U.S. Citizenship

If you are found eligible your name will be put on a waiting list if you cannot be helped immediately.  When your name tops the waiting list you will be given a Section 8 voucher.

To apply for a Section 8 voucher please contact your local PHA.


Federal law prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or disability.  If you have been trying to rent or buy a home or apartment and you believe your rights have been violated, you can file a fair housing complaint.

There are several ways to file a complaint:

  • You can complete and online complaint form at www.hud.gov/complaints.
  • You can call toll free 1-800-669-9777 or 1-888-799-2085.
  • Contact the West Virginia Human Rights Commission (WVHRC) at 1-888-676-5546.

Complaints made to HUD must be made within 180 days of the violation.  Complaints made to the WVHRC must be made within 365 days of the violation.

Printed materials are available in Braille, electronic format, cassette tape and large print.