Colorado has been at the forefront when it comes to enacting fair housing laws, in fact prohibiting discrimination in housing as far back as 1959, years before the federal Fair Housing Act became law. These laws were established to make sure that everyone has the same opportunity and access to choosing where they want to live and the type of housing that they desire.
Who do the laws apply to?
While it is commonly thought that these laws apply to housing providers, such as landlords, they also apply to real estate professionals such as real estate brokers, property managers, mortgage loan originators, and appraisers, as well as to homeowner associations (HOAs).
The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA)
Colorado’s CADA law contains fair housing provisions that cover all housing offered for sale, lease, rent, or transfer of ownership in Colorado. (C.R.S. § 24-34-501(2) and (3). While there are some limited exceptions, such as housing for older people (55+ communities), and a room offered for rent in a single family home maintained and occupied by the owner, the CADA is very broad in scope.
Additionally, the Act applies to real estate transactions, including the selling, brokering, appraising, making and securing loans, construction, maintaining and improving residential real estate.
What classes are protected?
- Sexual Orientation (which is statutorily defined as "including transgender status" - i.e. Gender Identity)
- Disability (a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits a major life activity)
- Marital Status
- Familial Status
- National Origin
- Source of Income
*“Race” includes hair texture, hair type, or a protective hairstyle that is commonly or historically associated with race. (C.R.S. § 24-34-301(5.8)). CROWN Act of 2020 (HB20-1048) (Reference - C.R.S. § 24-34-502)
What are some unfair housing practices?
- Refusing to rent or sell to someone (i.e.) “making the housing unavailable.”
- Redlining - a practice that puts housing-related services (financial or otherwise) out of reach for residents of certain areas based upon one’s race or ethnicity (i.e.) drawing "red lines" around minority neighborhoods on a map and denying loans for any purchases within those outlined areas.
- Steering - a practice by a real estate broker or other housing provider to navigate a client or tenant from a minority group away from considering a home in a white neighborhood.
- Applying unequal terms or conditions on a sale or rental of a home.
- Refusing to allow a reasonable accommodation or modification that is necessary to accommodate someone with a disability.
- Actions that would intimidate, threaten, coerce, or harass someone.
- To advertise with a discriminatory preference or limitation based on one’s protected class.
- Misrepresenting the availability of housing.
- Retaliating against a person engaged in a protected activity (i.e) complaining of discrimination or requesting a reasonable accommodation.
- Refusing to rent, lease, show for rent or lease, or transmit an offer to rent or lease housing based on a person's source of income.
(Reference - C.R.S. § 24-34-502)
What if I have been discriminated against in a housing matter?
File a complaint with the Colorado Division of Civil Rights
File a complaint against against a licensed real estate professional with the Colorado Division of Real Estate
File a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO)