Housing

Housing as a Human Right

Appropriate housing is a human right. As a tenant, you have the right to equal treatment in housing without harassment and/or discrimination. It is illegal for any person, because of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, martial status, familial status, domestic partnership status, age, sexual orientation, source of income or persons with disabilities to refuse to sell, lease, rent or otherwise make available any real property to a purchaser, lessee or renter.


Subtle Discrimination Practices

Housing discrimination often comes through subtle forms of interaction. Instead of posting a sign that says “We will not rent to Latino’s,” landlords / owners say instead, "I’m sorry we have just taken a deposit from someone else” although in all actuality no money has exchanged hands. Due to economic gain of the last decade minority interests in white dominated affluent neighborhoods began to increase. The influx of minorities into traditionally homogenous neighborhoods elucidated racial discrimination. Discriminatory practices are even more persuasive due to the current economic downturn. Minorities are now purchasing and renting homes in affluent homes at a lower cost.


Racial Steering

Another discriminatory practice now in place is called “racial steering”. Racial steering is the act of showing minority applicants houses on already minority dominated blocks and consciously avoiding more affluent white neighborhoods. Testers (a multi racial panel who canvass various real estate offices, landlords, and mortgage lenders) are an efficient means to combat discrimination. Other subtle forms of housing discrimination include arbitrary security deposits and application fees.


Outcomes of Housing Discrimination

Housing segregation breeds isolation, prejudice and impartiality. Housing discrimination is wrong, hurtful and easily addressed. The City of Eugene values diversity in all neighborhoods. The City of Eugene believes that landlords can play an active role in combating housing discrimination by:

  • Developing and implementing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies
  • Identifying and eliminating seen barriers
  • Providing inclusive training programs
  • Responding to accommodation requests


Illegal Discrimination Occurs When

  • You are treated differently from others in a similar situation
  • You are harmed by the treatment
  • You are treated this way because you are in a protected class i.e. race, gender, ethnicity, etc.


Please note that the Eugene Office for Human Rights had jurisdiction within Eugene City limits. If your situation is not applicable for investigation, we will refer you to the appropriate agency for help.

  1. 4.630 Human Rights
  2. Tenant Rights/Responsibility
  3. Landlord Rights/Responsibility

4.630 Human Rights - Housing Practices

  1. It shall be an unlawful housing practice for any person, because of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, age, sexual orientation, source of income, or because an individual is a person with a disability to:
    1. Refuse to sell, lease or rent, or otherwise make available any real property to a purchaser, lessee or renter.
    2. Expel a purchaser, lessee or renter from any real property.
    3. Make any distinction, discrimination or restriction against a purchaser, lessee or renter in the price, terms, conditions or privileges relating to the sale, rental, lease or occupancy of real property or in the furnishing of any facilities or services in connection with the real property.
    4. Attempt to discourage the sale, rental or lease of any real property to a purchaser, lessee or renter.
    5. Publish, circulate, issue or display, or cause to be published, circulated, issued or displayed, any communication, notice, advertisement or sign of any kind, relating to the sale, rental or leasing of real property which indicates any preference, limitation, specification or discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, age, sexual orientation, or source of income, or because an individual is a person with a disability.
    6. Assist, induce, compel, or coerce another person to commit an act or engage in a practice that violates this subsection, and subsection three of this section.
    7. Coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise of, any right granted or protected by this section.
  2. No person or other entity whose business includes engaging in residential real estate-related transactions shall discriminate against any person in making available such a transaction, or in the terms or conditions of such a transaction, because of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, age, sexual orientation, source of income, or because an individual is a person with a disability. As used in this subsection two, "residential real estate-related transaction" means the making or purchasing of loans or providing other financial assistance:
    1. For purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining a dwelling; or
    2. Securing residential real estate; or
    3. The selling, brokering or appraising of residential real property.
  3. No real estate licensee shall accept or retain a listing of real property for sale, lease or rental with an understanding that a purchaser may be discriminated against with respect to the sale, rental or lease thereof because of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, age, sexual orientation, source of income, or because an individual is a person with a disability.
  4. No person shall, for profit, induce or attempt to induce any other person to sell or rent any dwelling by representations regarding the entry or prospective entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons of a particular race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, age, sexual orientation, source of income, or because an individual is a person with a disability.
  5. For purposes of this section, receipt or alleged receipt of treatment for a mental disorder shall not constitute evidence of a person's inability to acquire, rent or maintain property.
  6. For purposes of this section, discrimination includes:
    1. A refusal to permit, at the expense of the person with a disability, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises, except that, in the case of a rental, the landlord may, where it is reasonable to do so, condition permission for such modifications on the renter agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted; or,
    2. A refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
  7. It shall be an unlawful housing practice to discriminate against an individual in any manner set forth in subsections one to four of this section because of the race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, age, sexual orientation, source of income, or disability of any other person with whom the individual associates.
  8. The prohibition against discrimination, distinction, or restriction because of sex in subsections one and three of this section do not apply if the real property involved is such that the application of subsections one and three of this section would necessarily result in common use of bath or bedroom facilities by unrelated persons of opposite sex.
  9. The prohibition against discrimination, distinction, or restriction because of source of income in subsections one, two and three of this section does not forbid:
    1. Inquiry into and verification of source and amount of income;
    2. Inquiry into, evaluation of, and decisions based on the amount, stability or creditworthiness of any income or source of income;
    3. Screening prospective purchasers and tenants on bases not prohibited by this code;
    4. Refusal to contract with a governmental agency under 42 USC 1437f(a) (Section 8).
  10. The prohibition against discrimination, distinction, or restriction because of sexual orientation in subsection one of this section does not apply:
    1. Where the lessor is renting rooms in an individual dwelling unit occupied by the lessor as the lessor’s residence; or
    2. To the rental of space in a bona fide church or other religious institution or organization, including churches, synagogues, religious schools, and other facilities used primarily for religious purposes.
  11. The prohibition against discrimination, distinction or restriction because of familial status and age in this section does not apply with respect to housing for older persons. For the purpose of this subsection, "housing for older persons" means housing:
    1. Provided under any state or federal program that is specifically designed and operated to assist elderly persons, as defined by the state or federal program;
    2. Intended for, and solely occupied by, persons 62 years of age or older; or
    3. Intended and operated for occupancy by at least one person 55 years of age or older per unit. Housing qualifies as housing for older persons under this subparagraph if:
      1. Significant facilities and services are specifically designed to meet the physical or social needs of older persons or, if provision of such facilities and services is not practicable, such housing is necessary to provide important housing opportunities for older persons;
      2. At least 80 percent of the dwellings are occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older per unit; and
      3. Policies and procedures which demonstrate an intent by the owner or manager to provide housing for persons 55 years of age or older are published and adhered to.
  12. Housing shall not fail to meet the requirements for housing for older persons if:
    1. Persons residing in such housing as of September 13, 1988 do not meet the requirements of subsections a or b of subsection 11 of this section. However, new occupants of such housing shall meet the age requirements of subsections b or c of subsection 11 of this section; or
    2. The housing includes unoccupied units. However, such units are reserved for occupancy by persons who meet the age requirements of subsections b or c of subsection 11 of this section.
  13. Nothing in this section limits the applicability of any reasonable local, state or federal restrictions regarding the maximum number of occupants permitted to occupy a dwelling.


(Section 4.630 amended by Ordinance No. 17256, enacted February 24, 1975; Ordinance No. 17479, enacted November 24, 1975; Ordinance No. 19970, enacted July 11, 1994; administratively amended by Ordinance No. 20113, enacted April 6, 1998, effective May 6, 1998; and amended by Ordinance No. 20264, enacted November 12, 2002, effective December 12, 2002.)