Fair housing words and phrase list


Describe the Property- Not the People

Fair Housing is the sale/rental of housing free of discriminatory practices or policies. The Fair Housing Act prohibits any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on a person's race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability (mental or physical) or familial status. Connecticut additionally includes protected classes, such as ancestry, marital status, age (except minors), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, legal source of income (refusing to accept Section 8, for example) and veteran status.


The federal Fair Housing Act also prohibits publishing advertisements indicating any preference, limitation or discrimination based on these protected categories with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling.


Practically speaking, any word or statement that may be perceived to limit a buyer's choices or indicate a preference based on their protected class should be avoided when advertising a property. While you may not intend to indicate a preference or limitation, even a client's perception may be construed as discriminatory. 


The following word and phrase list is intended only to provide general guidelines to assist in complying with state and federal fair housing laws and nondiscriminatory practices. This list is not intended to provide legal advice.


NOTE: the list below is NOT all-inclusive. It is not intended to be a complete list of every word or phrase that could violate any local, state or federal statutes. A general list cannot cover every situation or question.

If in doubt:

DO NOT USE ethnic references (Black, Caucasian/White, Asian, American Indian, etc).

DO NOT USE nationalities (Chinese, African, German, Italian, etc).

DO NOT USE religious references (near temple, mosque, church, Christian, Muslim, Catholic, etc).

DO NOT USE sex, gender or sexual orientation (male, female, transgender, homosexual, gay, etc).



*Note- Senior housing may be exempt if:

  1. HUD has determined the housing is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a federal, state or local government program, or;
  2. It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older, or;
  3. It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80% of the occupied units and adheres to a policy that demonstrates an intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

Click here to download a PDF version of the SmartMLS Fair Housing Tips.


For more information, please contact the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, https://www.ctfairhousing.org/fair-housing-overview.


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