Discrimination is an issue that affects millions of Americans every day. Unfortunately, the existence of discrimination is not always apparent. For example, a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) might use its guidelines to circumvent accusations of discrimination.
The California Civil Rights Department explicitly forbids housing discrimination. If you believe an HOA restricts your ability to live in a neighborhood of your choosing or receive access to certain neighborhood services, you might have an anti-discrimination case.
What does the law protect?
The Fair Housing Act prevents HOAs from making decisions based on nationality, sex, gender, race, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or disability. Suppose you want to move into a community that is majority one faith, for example. In that case, the HOA cannot prevent you from moving into the neighborhood because you do not follow that religion.
How do HOAs avoid discrimination charges?
HOAs might use other regulations to discriminate in more subtle ways. Their rules might discourage or prevent specific demographics from moving into the neighborhood. An HOA might limit the display of religious symbols on the exterior of your property. If the association contacts you about your religious display, but you notice other houses displaying their religious iconography, you be a victim of discrimination. There is a fine line between overly strict laws and discrimination. Pay attention to the treatment of other members of your community. Discrimination might exist if it does not align with your treatment.
Discouraging certain behaviors, preventing access to specific amenities or limiting certain displays might fall under discrimination. Take note of your concerns. Do not allow unfair treatment to prevent you from living a prosperous life as you see fit.