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What is the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988?

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The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 is a law that protects tenants and prospective property buyers from discrimination by landlords or sellers. The amendment expanded the Fair Housing Act by including coverage of disabled individuals. The Amendment Act prohibits discrimination of individuals based on their race, color, religion, family status, nationality, gender and disability, reports the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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The act also prohibits discrimination in the financing of a house based on familial status, which includes pregnancy and having a child aged below 18, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The act requires landlords to make reasonable policy exceptions to allow the disabled access to equal housing opportunities. Based on the act, the disabled can make access-related modifications to rented houses, and multifamily houses must facilitate access by people with disabilities.

The Amendment Act allows the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to litigate on behalf of aggrieved individuals before administrative courts. The department plays an enforcement, investigative and conciliatory role and can bring action against individuals before federal district courts. The Department of Justice reports that a person must commence a civil suit within two years after an alleged discriminatory practice. According to the act, the investigative arm of the Justice Department must find reasonable cause for a suit to be admissible in court, reports the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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