GUIDE to HOUSING in KENT
BALTIMORE COMMUNITY HOUSING RESOURCE BOARD, INC.
Box 66180, Baltimore, Maryland 21239
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING
& COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Place, Crownsville, Maryland 21032
INFORMATION ABOUT HOUSING
Buying Housing. Rental Apartments
Listings. Affordable Housing. Homeless Services. General Resources.
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 housing counseling from a reputable
housing counseling agency. For a list of free counseling agencies,
telephone the Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development at 800.756.0119
- It is recommended
that a Realtor® be utilized for the house buying process.
Contact the Mid-Shore Board of Realtors, 8615 Commerce Drive,
Easton 21601, at 410.822.8767.
- A house inspection
by an impartial, licensed housing inspector should be done as
part of the purchase agreement to buy the house / home / condominium.
107 W. Cross Street, Galena 21635 410-648-5174
21390 Brittany Bay Drive, Rock Hall 21661 410-639-7350
150 Flatland Road, Chestertown 21620 410-778-3311
852 Washington Avenue, Chestertown 21620 410-778-2610
852 Washington Avenue, Chestertown 21620 410-778-2610
101 Ellicott Drive, Chester 21619 410-643-5884
303 Queen Anne Circle Drive, Centreville 21617 410-758-1229
Regional Housing Assistance Office, Maryland Department of Housing
& Community Development
738 Cambridge Plaza, Cambridge 21613 800-445-4340
Sells & rents housing; home rehab loans.
103 Gay Street, Denton 21629 410-479-3000
Rental assistance, housing counseling. Community improvement programs.
Church Street & Cedar Lane, Greensboro 21639 410-479-3566
Aging Housing Corporation
Low-income housing for seniors & disabled.
201 Talbot Boulevard, Chestertown 21620 410-758-6500
& EMERGENCY SHELTER SERVICES
- Homeless Youth Hotline
Development Corp. Shelter
Opens approximately 4:00 p.m. daily.
502 Gay Street, Cambridge 21613 410-228-3488
First Call for
Statewide 24-hour Hot Line. Referrals & information. 800-492-0618
/ TTY 410-685-2159
Legal assistance to clients in homeless shelters.
300 Cathedral Street, Baltimore 21201 410-685-6589
Department of Social Services
Referrals to shelters, Homelessness Prevention Program, food stamps,
350 High Street, Chestertown 21620 410-778-0820 / 911 after hours
Kent & Queen
Anne's Counties Mobile Treatment
For homeless mentally ill adults. 410-778-6882
Coalition for the Homeless
Referrals, assistance, counseling.
1001 Lake Street, Salisbury 21801 410-742-8500
the Mentally Ill of the Lower Eastern Shore
Assistance in finding housing.
30402 Pine Street, Princess
Anne 21853 410-651-1817
Emergency crisis intervention & counseling.
125 S. Lynchburg Street, Chestertown 21620 410-778-1350
Center for Independent Living
Services & assistance for people with disabilities.
404-A LeCompte Street, Cambridge 21613 410-221-7701
for Individuals with Disabilities
Referral services, information.
1 Market Center, Baltimore 21202 800-637-4113
Assistance for persons with a hearing/speech disability.
Health Systems, Inc.
P. O. Box 800, Cambridge 21613 410-221-2531
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
Tenant-landlord counseling. 800-487-6007
Inc., Social Services
1405 Wesley Drive, Salisbury 21801 410-749-1121
Free Fair Housing brochures, self-help guides, posters. 410.929.7640
Legal Aid Bureau
of the Upper Eastern Shore
Free legal assistance to income-eligible persons.
114 South Commerce Street, Centreville 21617 410-758-2543 / 800-477-2543
To hear audio tapes on legal aspects of various subjects. 800-638-8862
Free legal assistance. 800-510-0050
on Family Violence, Inc.
Reduced-fee legal help for domestic violence survivors.
United Way of
Kent County, Inc.
413 High Street, Chestertown 21620 410-778-3195
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:
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
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
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 MCHR 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). 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
$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 MCCR 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
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:
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: 410-962-0106.
Toll-free TDD line: 800-927-9275.
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:
Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection.
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.
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 controls.
Reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab
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 of tenancy?
- 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.
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
Coastal Counties C.
H. R. B.
P. O. Box 971, Salisbury, Maryland 21801 800-652-6312 / 410-524-5685
C. H. R. B.
Commission on Civil Rights
800-637-6247 / 410-548-3243 / TDD 410-333-1737
201 Baptist Street, Suite 33, Salisbury, Maryland 21801