A SELF-HELP GUIDE to HOUSING
in CECIL COUNTY
GREATER BALTIMORE COMMUNITY HOUSING RESOURCE BOARD,
P. O. Box 66180, Baltimore, Maryland 21239-6180
MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
100 Community Place, Crownsville, Maryland 21032
Buying Housing. Rental
Apartments Listings. Affordable Housing. Homeless Services. General
WHAT IS THE HOUSING DISCRIMINATION
Unlawful Housing Acts. Exemptions
from the Law. Commonly-Asked Questions.
HOW TO FILE A HOUSING DISCRIMINATION
Options. Filing with the
State of Maryland. Filing with HUD.
FAIR HOUSING LAW REGARDING
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Definition of "Disability."
Overview of the Relevant Laws. Prohibited Discriminatory Actions.
Requirements for New Buildings.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
INFORMATION ABOUT HOUSING
- Someone thinking
about buying should receive counseling from a housing counseling
agency. For a list of free counseling agencies, telephone the
Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development at
- It is recommended
that a Realtor® be utilized for buying housing. Contact the
Cecil County Board of Realtors: 410.398.4844.
- A house inspection
by an impartial, licensed housing inspector should be done as
part of the purchase agreement to buy the house / home / condominium.
Apartments at Iron
Ridge - 410-398-8499
2950 Stonegate Blvd., Elkton
Canal Town Village
100 Grayson Avenue, Chesapeake City
Cedar Hill Apartments
59 Cedar Hill Court, North East
Cherry Wood Apartments
27 Doris Drive, Elkton
Apartments - 410-398-5813
41 Bridgewell Parkway, Elkton
702 Concord Drive, Perryville
Lums Road & Route 272, North East
Elk Chase Apartments
62 Elk Chase Drive, Elkton
Elkton Manor Apartments
537 Booth Street, Elkton
Evergreen Terrace Townhomes
& Apartments - 410-398-7328
117 Courtney Drive, Elkton
Fox Ridge Manor
Apartments - 410-398-6289
504 Abbott Drive, Elkton
Meadows at Elk Creek
439 Muddy Lane, Elkton
Pine Hill Apartments
367 Fletchwood Road, Elkton
River Manor Apartments
20 North Main Street, Port Deposit
Town & Country
Stonegate Apartments - 410-398-4800
4301 Stonegate Blvd., Elkton
110 Windward Court, Elkton
West Creek Apartments
300 West Creek Village Drive, Elkton
Regional Housing Assistance Office, Maryland Department of Housing
& Community Development
738 Cambridge Plaza, Cambridge 21613 800-445-4340
Rental assistance, housing counseling. Community improvement programs.
Church Street & Cedar Lane, Greensboro 21639 410-479-3566
Shore Aging Housing Corporation
Low-income housing for seniors & disabled.
201 Talbot Boulevard, Chestertown 21620 410-758-6500
EMERGENCY SHELTER SERVICES
Domestic Violence Shelter
Department of Social Services Referrals
to shelters, Homelessness Prevention Program, food stamps, medical
East Main Street, Elkton 21921 410-996-0100
County Men's ShelterElkton
410-392-8066 - 24-hour hotline
Farm / The Working FarmEmergency
& transitional shelter, counseling.21
Veazey Cove Road, Earlville 21919 410-275-8990
- Homeless Youth Hotline - Referrals800-999-9999
First Call for
24-hour Hot Line. Referrals & information.
(800)492-0618 / TTY (410)685-2159
Persons Representation Project
Legal assistance to clients
in homeless shelters.
300 Cathedral Street, Baltimore 21201 410-685-6589
placement; food pantry.P.
O. Box 345, Elkton 21922 410-398-2110
O. Box 1029, Elkton 21921 410-275-8990
& transitional men's shelter.168
West Main Street, Elkton 21922 410-392-7664
& Transitional women's shelter.107
Delaware Avenue, Elkton 21921 410-398-4381
crisis intervention & counseling.401
Bow Street, Elkton 21921 - 410-996-5550
The IMAGE Center Services
& assistance for people with disabilities. 300 E. Joppa Road, Towson, Maryland
21286 - 410-982-6311
for Individuals with DisabilitiesReferral
Market Center, Baltimore 21202 - 800-637-4113
- 711 Assistance
for persons with a hearing/speech disability.
On Our Own of Maryland
Support & services for people with mental illness.
3421 Benson Avenue, Baltimore 21227 - 410-646-0262
Liberties Union of Maryland's Eastern Shore
Civil rights cases.
100 North Liberty Street, Centreville 21617 (410)758-1975
Hispano Americana del Eastern Shore
705 Carmelia Road. Salisbury 21804
Inc. - Tenant-Landlord Counseling.
C. H. R. B.
Free Fair Housing brochures, self-help guides, posters. 410.929.7640
Legal Aid Bureau
Free legal assistance to income-eligible persons.
5 North Main Street, Bel Air 21014
(410)836-8202 / (800)444-9529
To hear audio tapes on legal aspects of various subjects. 800-638-8862
Free legal assistance. (800)510-0050
WHAT IS THE HOUSING DISCRIMINATION LAW?
Title 14, Subtitle 03,
Chapter 4 (14.03.04) of the Code of Maryland Regulations prohibits
housing discrimination in the State based on:
- National Origin
- Marital Status
- Mental Disability
- Physical Disability
- Familial Status
- Sexual Orientation
Specifically, it is
against the law to:
(1) Refuse to sell or
rent a dwelling after a bona fide offer is made.
(2) Make any preference,
limitation, or discrimination based on the above classes.
(3) Tell a person that
a dwelling is not available when it is in fact available.
(4) Impose different
sales prices or rental charges for a dwelling.
(5) Use different qualification
criteria, applications, standards, or procedures - such as income
standards, application requirements, credit analysis, or approval
(6) Deny or limit services
(7) Have different terms,
conditions, or privileges, relating to dwelling sale or rental.
(8) Fail to or delay
to process an offer for dwelling sale or rental.
(9) Discourage or obstruct
housing choice by community, neighborhood, or development.
(10) Assign a person
to a particular section of a community, neighborhood, or development
- or to a particular floor of a building.
These types of housing
are exempt from the Fair Housing Law:
- Rooms/units in owner-occupied dwellings for five or fewer families
- Rental or sale of
a single-family home by an owner who does not own more than three
houses, who has not sold a house within one year, and who has
not used a broker or agent to rent the house.
- Housing that is specifically
operated for persons of one religious organization.
- Rooms in any dwelling
if the owner uses this as his/her principal residence.
Questions about the Law
Does the Law Cover
Condominiums? - Yes.
Does the Law apply
to buildings built with Federal funds? - Yes.
The Act prohibits housing discrimination in both public and private
housing, regardless of whether the housing provider used Federal
Can a landlord ask
about the usage of birth control devices? - No.
HOW TO FILE A HOUSING DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT
A person who feels that
they are a victim of housing discrimination may file a complaint
with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) or with the
U. S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). A person
simultaneously may file a complaint with the State and with HUD.
Maryland's Discrimination Complaint Process
The first step in filing
a housing discrimination complaint is to contact the MCCR. Someone
who feels that s/he is the victim of housing discrimination (called
the "Complainant") may either telephone or write the MCCR within
one year of the incident. The MCCR's telephone numbers are: 800-637-6247
or 410-548-3243, the branch at the Salisbury Multi-Purpose Center.
The Eastern Shore branch is located at the Salisbury Multi-Purpose
Center, 201 Baptist Street, Suite 33, Salisbury, Maryland 21801.
The TDD number is 410-333-1737.
Upon contact, the MCCR
staffer will set up an appointment with the Complainant to obtain
more information about the complaint.
As soon as MCCR obtains
all the information about the incident from the Complainant, it
contacts and gets relevant information from the person who is the
subject of the complaint (called the "Respondent"). The MCCR makes
this fact-finding process as quickly as possible. This process is
quickened if the situation demands immediate action (e.g., the Complainant
is subject to immediate threat or harm). The MCCR will inform the Complainant
and the Respondent in writing of its decision of whether discrimination
has occurred, and it then will enforce corrective remedies.
The MCCR can order a
Respondent to make a financial payment and/or many other actions
to remedy a proven discrimination problem. For example, it can issue
a temporary restraining order to keep a housing unit on the market
in certain circumstances. The MCCR's administrative penalties can be
very costly to the person or company adjudged to be guilty of housing
- $10,000 fine, if
the person/company has committed one prior discriminatory practice.
- $25,000 fine, if
the person/company has committed one prior discriminatory practice
within the past 5 years.
- $50,000 fine, if
the person/company has committed two or more prior discriminatory
practices within the past 7 years.
The MCCR also can negotiate
other remedies as agreed between its legal counsel, the Complainant,
and the Respondent. These may include actual damages and "equitable
relief" in addition to the monetary fine.
It is Against
the Law to Retaliate
The State of Maryland is committed
to ensuring that a person who makes a complaint or who supports
a complaint by another not be the victim of retaliation. It is illegal
to retaliate against a Complainant or someone who aids that person.
The State, therefore, will prosecute immediately such action if
it does occur.
is Against the Law to Intimidate
It also is illegal to
threaten or intimidate someone who has filed a discrimination complaint.
For example, it is illegal to:
- Threaten an employee
with dismissal because of filing a complaint.
- Intimidate or threaten
someone who has won a discrimination complaint.
- Harass someone who
has assisted another in filing a discrimination complaint.
For example, it is illegal
to threaten someone with bodily harm who has filed a discrimination
complaint. Harassing that person, by swearing and physical threats,
is against the law.
a Complaint with HUD
The U. S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is also ready to help with
housing discrimination. The Federal bases for Fair Housing complaints
are less than those of the State. The federal Act forbids housing
discrimination on the basis of:
- National Origin
- Familial Status
- Physical Disability
- Mental Disability
HUD's complaint process
is very similar to that of the State. You can either:
- Write HUD a letter
to: Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, U. S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street, S. W., Room
5204, Washington, D. C. 20410-2000
- Telephone the Maryland
HUD Office during regular business workdays (Monday-Friday, 8:30
a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) at 410-962-2520.
- Telephone the HUD
toll-free telephone hot-line at 800-669-9777.
also is available for persons with disabilities. A complaint should
be filed as soon as possible, but within one year of its occurrence.
For persons with disabilities,
HUD also provides:
- TDD line for hearing-impaired:
- Toll-free TDD line:
- Interpreters; Tapes
and Braille materials.
- Assistance in reading
and completing forms.
HOUSING DISCRIMINATION LAW FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Section 794) and the Fair Housing Act, as
amended in 1988 by the Fair Housing Amendments Act (42 U.S.C. Section
3601 et. seq.) define an individual with disabilities (or handicaps)
"Any person who has
a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one
or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment,
or is regarded as having such an impairment."
These conditions are
considered as disabilities under the Law:
- Cerebral palsy.
- Muscular dystrophy.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Heart disease.
- Mental retardation.
- Emotional illness.
- Drug addiction.
- Human Immunodeficiency
- Orthopedic, visual,
speech, and hearing impairments.
of the Relevant Laws
Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4151) - This
Act provides for the removal of architectural barriers from all
Federally constructed, leased, or financed buildings.
of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794) - The
Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination, in Federally assisted
and conducted programs, against otherwise qualified individuals
with disabilities. Section 504 - and HUD's regulations - provide
for complaint procedures regarding housing discrimination on the
basis of disability. Complaint treatment parallels that for other
(e.g., racial) discriminatory allegations.
Fair Housing Amendments
Act of 1988 (42 U.S.C. 3601) - This
Act significantly revised and expanded Fair Housing rights. See
below for listing of discriminatory actions.
Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1990 - This
Federal Act prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities
in private sector employment, all public services, public accommodations,
and telecommunications. For more information, please contact the
Maryland Commission on Human Relations Commission (800-637-6247).
(a) To refuse to permit,
at the request of a person with disabilities, reasonable modifications
if necessary to allow this person full usage of the dwelling.
(b) To construct a new
housing complex that does not include accessible structure and design
(c) To refuse to make
reasonable accommodation in rules, policies, services, or practices,
when necessary to allow a person with disabilities an equal opportunity
to use and enjoy the housing. Some examples are:
A building with a "no
pets" policy must allow a visually-impaired tenant to keep a guide
apartment complex that offers tenants ample, unassigned parking
must honor a request from a mobility-impaired tenant for a reserved
space near his/her apartment, if necessary to assure that he/she
can have access to the apartment.
for New Buildings
In buildings that were
ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, and have an elevator
and four or more units:
(1) Public and common
areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities.
(2) Doors and hallways
must be wide enough for wheelchairs.
(3) All units must have:
- An accessible route
through the unit.
- Accessible light
switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental
- Reinforced bathroom
walls to allow later installation of grab bars.
- Kitchens and bathrooms
that can be used by people in wheelchairs.
If a building with 4
or more housing units has no elevator and had first occupancy after
March 13, 1991, these standards apply to ground floor units only.
These requirements do not replace more stringent standards in Maryland
or Worcester County law. Housing need not be made available to a
person who is a direct threat to the health or safety of others,
or who currently uses illegal drugs.
What must a housing
provider consider to assure that housing is provided is integrated?
- The housing
for persons with disabilities must not be separate or unnecessarily
segregated. Accessible units in single buildings should be located
throughout the building, and not just on the first floor. In projects
with multiple buildings, accessible units should be located throughout
these buildings, rather than in just one or two buildings. Persons
with mental disabilities should not be segregated in any one wing,
floor, or building.
the Law apply to building built without Federal funds? - The
Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination in both public
and private housing, regardless of whether or not the housing provider
receives Federal funds.
What about communication
with persons with disabilities? - A
housing provider must have an effective way to communicate with
all tenants and applicants who have disabilities:
- Telephone: TDD or
a fax machine.
- Alternate site for
applicants if not accessible.
- Application forms
and other information in simplified language and utilize pictures
What is the Law
regarding the cost of housing modifications? - The
Fair Housing Act requires that housing providers allow tenants with
disabilities to make modifications, at the tenant's expense, when
such modifications are necessary. However, the provider is required
to cover the cost to make existing units accessible when a project
is viewed in its entirety.
about information given during the application process? - A
housing provider may indicate the availability of accessible units,
and ask all applicants if they wish to be considered for such units.
If the person indicates this, he/she can be asked to explain and
document why the accessibility features are required - even if to
answer these questions may involve revealing information about a
physical or mental disability (24 CFR. Sec. 8.27).
Can a provider make
the ability to live independently a term or condition
- No. Instead,
the provider must rely on the tenant's ability to meet the standard
obligations of tenancy (e.g., maintaining the unit) to determine
if the tenant can continue to reside in that unit.
When can a housing
provider evict a person with disabilities who damages his/her unit
and/or disturbs tenants? - The
general rule is that a person with disabilities can be held to the
same standards of behavior as those to which a non-disabled person
is held. Reasonable accommodation sometimes may require that a landlord
make an accommodation in the rule.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
C. H. R. B.
Commission on Civil Rights
800-637-6247 / 410-548-3243 / TDD 410-333-1737