Fair Housing

Fair Housing

Washtenaw County is committed to affirmatively furthering fair housing efforts by promoting fair and equal housing opportunities for all residents and fostering inclusive communities.

Fair housing can be defined as a condition in which individuals of similar income levels in the same housing market have a like range of housing choice available to them regardless of ability, age, ancestry, color, disability, familial status, gender, marital status, national origin, political belief, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, source of income, or veteran status.


Fair Housing Choice in Washtenaw County

Washtenaw County is committed to upholding the Federal Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968)1 and Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act2 and the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act3. It is the County's policy and the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act to provide services without regard to:

  • Ability
  • Age
  • Ancestry
  • Color
  • Creed
  • Disability
  • Familial Status
  • Gender
  • Marital Status
  • National Origin
  • Political Belief
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Source of Income
  • Veteran Status

1. Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability. It also requires that all federal programs relating to housing and urban development be administered in a manner that affirmatively furthers fair housing. 

2. Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act is an act to define civil rights; to prohibit discriminatory practices, policies, and customs in the exercise of those rights based upon religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status; to preserve the confidentiality of records regarding arrest, detention, or other disposition in which a conviction does not result; to prescribe the powers and duties of the civil rights commission and the department of civil rights; to provide remedies and penalties; to provide for fees; and to repeal certain acts and parts of acts. 

3. The Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act is an act to define the civil rights of persons with disabilities; to prohibit discriminatory practices, policies, and customs in the exercise of those rights; to prescribe penalties and to provide remedies; and to provide for the promulgation of rules.


Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)


Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is a locally-driven assessment of access to fair housing and community assets. It is also a tool for local governments to address and reduce residential segregation and areas of concentrated poverty. In collaboration with the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, the Washtenaw Urban County made recommendations that focus on undoing historically biased and exclusionary policies, improving access to opportunity (i.e. schools, quality housing, jobs and transportation), addressing issues in areas that are identified as racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, and tracking potential displacement.

Click here to learn more about AFFH.

View the 2017 Washtenaw Urban County Assessment of Fair Housing Plan here.

Housing Discrimination

Housing discrimination is unjust or prejudicial treatment of individuals, in the area of housing and real estate, based on the individual's protected class. Illegal housing discrimination can take many forms, including:

  • Realtors showing apartments or homes only in certain neighborhoods
  • Advertising housing only to preferred groups of people
  • Refusal to provide mortgage loan information
  • Discriminatory property appraisals
  • Refusals to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities

Fair Housing Complaints

If you believe you have been denied housing or the opportunity to apply for housing in Washtenaw County because of a protected characteristic, you may contact one of the following agencies:

  • Fair Housing Center of Southeastern MichiganThe mission of the Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan (FHC) is to end discrimination in housing and public accommodations and to promote accessible, integrated communities. FHC provides investigative services, testing, advice, advocacy, conciliation, attorney referral, and community education in Clinton, Eaton, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Shiawassee, and Washtenaw Counties. All of our services are free.
    • If you believe you have been the victim of housing discrimination, please email [email protected] or call 877-979-3247
  • Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR): The Department of Civil Rights investigates and resolves discrimination complaints and works to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws.
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO): works to eliminate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity, and achieve diverse, inclusive communities by leading the nation in the enforcement, administration, development, and public understanding of federal fair housing policies and laws.

Analysis of Fair Housing Impediments

Urban County 2011 Analysis of Impediments (PDF)_Page_001The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that all communities receiving federal housing and community development funding complete an Analysis of Impediments (AI) to Fair Housing Choice.

An AI was completed for Washtenaw County in 2007 (PDF). Washtenaw County actively works to address the impediments to fair housing highlighted in this analysis.

The report focused on fair housing complaints and investigations in the six-year period from January 1, 2005 - December 31, 2010.