Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
5/14/2021

Article 1. Complaints

18VAC135-50-70. Real estate practices prohibited.

Article 1
Prohibited Practices

This chapter provides the board's interpretation of conduct that is unlawful housing discrimination under § 36-96.3 of the Code of Virginia. The list of unlawful discriminatory housing practices contained in § 36-96.3 of the Virginia Fair Housing Law is to be construed as broadly as possible. In general, the prohibited actions are set forth under sections of these regulations which are most applicable to the discriminatory conduct described. However, an action illustrated in one section can constitute a violation under other sections in these regulations.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.20 C and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.1, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-80. Unlawful refusal to sell or rent or to negotiate for the sale or rental.

Prohibited actions under this section include:

1. Failing to accept or consider a bona fide offer because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

2. Refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to, or to negotiate for the sale or rental of a dwelling with any person because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

3. Imposing different sales prices or rental charges for the sale or rental of a dwelling upon any person because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

4. Using different qualification criteria or applications or sale or rental standards or procedures, such as income standards, application requirements, application fees, credit analysis, or sale or rental approval procedures or other requirements, because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

5. Evicting tenants because of their race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran or because of the race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran of a tenant's guest.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.20 C and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.2, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-90. Discrimination in terms, conditions and privileges and in services and facilities.

Examples of prohibited actions under this section include:

1. Using different provisions in leases or contracts of sale, such as those relating to rental charges, security deposits, and the terms of a lease and those relating to down payment and closing requirements, because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

2. Failing or delaying maintenance or repairs of sale or rental dwellings because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

3. Failing to process an offer for the sale or rental of a dwelling or to communicate an offer accurately because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

4. Limiting the use of privileges, services, or facilities associated with a dwelling because of the race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness , national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran of an owner, tenant, or a person associated with him.

5. Denying or limiting services or facilities in connection with the sale or rental of a dwelling because a person failed or refused to provide sexual favors.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.20 C and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.3, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-100. Other prohibited sale and rental conduct.

A. It shall be unlawful, because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran to restrict or attempt to restrict the choices of a person by word or conduct in connection with seeking, negotiating for, buying, or renting a dwelling so as to perpetuate or tend to perpetuate segregated housing patterns or to discourage or obstruct choices in a community, neighborhood, or development.

Prohibited actions under this subsection, which are generally referred to as unlawful steering practices, include but are not limited to:

1. Discouraging any person from inspecting, purchasing, or renting a dwelling because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran or because of the race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran of persons in a community, neighborhood, or development.

2. Discouraging the purchase or rental of a dwelling because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran by exaggerating drawbacks or failing to inform any person of desirable features of a dwelling or of a community, neighborhood, or development.

3. Communicating to any prospective purchaser that the purchaser would not be comfortable or compatible with existing residents of a community, neighborhood, or development because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

4. Assigning any person to a particular section of a community, neighborhood, or development or to a particular floor or section of a building because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

B. It shall be unlawful because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran to engage in any conduct relating to the provision of housing or of services and facilities in connection therewith that otherwise makes unavailable or denies dwellings to persons.

Prohibited activities relating to dwellings sales and rental practices under this subsection include but are not limited to:

1. Discharging or taking other adverse action against an employee, broker, or agent because he refused to participate in a discriminatory housing practice.

2. Employing codes or other devices to segregate or reject applicants, purchasers, or renters, refusing to take or to show listings of dwellings in certain areas because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran or refusing to deal with certain brokers or agents because they or one or more of their clients are of a particular race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

3. Denying or delaying the processing of an application made by a purchaser or renter or refusing to approve such a person for occupancy in a cooperative or condominium dwelling because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

4. Refusing to provide municipal services or property or hazard insurance for a dwelling or providing such services or insurance differently because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.20 C and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.4, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-110. Discriminatory advertisements, statements and notices.

A. It shall be unlawful to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination.

B. The prohibitions in this section shall apply to all written or oral notices or statements by a person engaged in the sale or rental of a dwelling. Written notices and statements include any applications, flyers, brochures, deeds, signs, banners, posters, billboards, or any documents used with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling.

C. Discriminatory notices, statements, and advertisements include but are not limited to:

1. Using words, phrases, photographs, illustrations, symbols, or forms that convey that dwellings are available or not available to a particular group of persons because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness , national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

2. Expressing to agents, brokers, employees, prospective sellers, renters, or any other persons a preference for or limitation on any purchaser or renter because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran of such person.

3. Selecting media or locations for advertising the sale or rental of a dwelling that deny particular segments of the housing market information about housing opportunities because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

4. Refusing to publish advertising for the sale or rental of dwellings or requiring different charges or terms for such advertising because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

D. Publishers' notice. All publishers shall publish at the beginning of the real estate advertising section a notice such as that appearing in this subsection . The notice shall include a statement regarding the coverage of any Virginia and federal fair housing laws prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of dwellings:

All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Virginia and federal fair housing laws, which make it illegal to advertise "any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, elderliness, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination."

We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. All persons are hereby informed that all dwellings advertised are available on an equal opportunity basis. (Table III, Appendix I to 24 CFR Part 109, Ch. 1 (4/1/2000 edition)).

E. Fair housing poster requirements.

1. Persons subject to § 36-96.3 of the Virginia Fair Housing Law shall post and maintain a HUD approved fair housing poster as follows:

a. With respect to a single-family dwelling (not being offered for sale or rental in conjunction with the sale or rental of other dwellings) offered for sale or rental through a real estate broker, agent, salesman, or person in the business of selling or renting dwellings, such person shall post and maintain a fair housing poster at any place of business where the dwelling is offered for sale or rental.

b. With respect to all other dwellings covered by the Virginia Fair Housing Law: (i) a fair housing poster shall be posted and maintained at any place of business where the dwelling is offered for sale or rental, and (ii) a fair housing poster shall be posted and maintained at the dwelling, except that with respect to a single-family dwelling being offered for sale or rental in conjunction with the sale or rental of other dwellings, the fair housing poster may be posted and maintained at the model dwellings or at a conspicuous location instead of at each of the individual dwellings.

c. With respect to those dwellings to which subdivision 1 b of this subsection applies, the fair housing poster must be posted at the beginning of construction and maintained throughout the period of construction and sale or rental.

2. The poster requirement does not apply to vacant land, or any single-family dwelling, unless such dwelling (i) is being offered for sale or rental in conjunction with the sale or rental of other dwellings in which circumstances a fair housing poster shall be posted and maintained as specified in subdivision 1 b (ii) of this subsection, or (ii) is being offered for sale or rental through a real estate broker, agent, salesman, or person in the business of selling or renting dwellings in which circumstances a fair housing poster shall be posted and maintained as specified in subdivision 1 a of this subsection.

3. All persons subject to § 36-96.4 of the Virginia Fair Housing Law, Discrimination in Residential Real Estate-Related Transactions, shall post and maintain a fair housing poster at all their places of business which participate in the covered activities.

4. All persons subject to 18VAC135-50-140, Discrimination in the Provision of Brokerage Services, shall post and maintain a fair housing poster at all their places of business.

5. Location of posters. All fair housing posters shall be prominently displayed so as to be readily apparent to all persons seeking housing accommodations or seeking to engage in residential real estate-related transactions or brokerage services.

6. Availability of posters. All persons subject to this part may obtain fair housing posters from the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. A facsimile may be used if the poster and the lettering are equivalent in size and legibility to the poster available from the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. Any person who claims to have been injured by a discriminatory housing practice may file a complaint with the administrator pursuant to Part III (18VAC135-50-300 et seq.) of this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.8 and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia; 42 USC § 3613.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.5, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003; Volume 30, Issue 11, eff. March 1, 2014.

18VAC135-50-120. Discriminatory representations on the availability of dwellings.

A. It shall be unlawful, because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran, to provide inaccurate or untrue information about the availability of dwelling for sale or rental.

B. Prohibited actions under this section include:

1. Indicating through words or conduct that a dwelling that is available for inspection, sale, or rental has been sold or rented because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

2. Representing that covenants or other deed, trust, or lease provisions that purport to restrict the sale or rental of dwellings because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran preclude the sale or rental of a dwelling to a person.

3. Enforcing covenants or other deed, trust, or lease provisions that preclude the sale or rental of a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

4. Limiting information by word or conduct regarding suitably priced dwellings available for inspection, sale, or rental because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

5. Providing false or inaccurate information regarding the availability of a dwelling for sale or rental to any person, including testers, regardless of whether such person is actually seeking housing because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-96.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.6, eff. December 1, 1991.

18VAC135-50-130. Blockbusting.

A. It shall be unlawful to induce or attempt to induce a person to sell or rent a dwelling by representations regarding the entry or prospective entry into the neighborhood of a person of a particular race, color, religion, sex, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran or with a disability.

B. Prohibited actions under this section include:

1. Engaging in conduct (including uninvited solicitations for listing) that conveys to a person that a neighborhood is undergoing or is about to undergo a change in the race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran of persons residing in it in order to encourage the person to offer a dwelling for sale or rental.

2. Encouraging any person to sell or rent a dwelling through assertions that the entry or prospective entry of persons of a particular race, color, religion, sex, familial status, elderliness , national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran or with s, disabilities can or will result in undesirable consequences for the project, neighborhood, or community, such as a lowering of property values, an increase in criminal or antisocial behavior, or a decline in the quality of schools or other services or facilities.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-96.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.7, eff. December 1, 1991.

18VAC135-50-140. Discrimination in the provision of brokerage services.

Prohibited actions under this section include:

1. Setting different fees for access to or membership in a multiple listing service based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

2. Denying or limiting benefits accruing to members in a real estate brokers' organization because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

3. Imposing different standards or criteria for membership in a real estate sales, rental, or exchange organization because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

4. Establishing geographic boundaries or office location or residence requirements for access to or membership or participation in any multiple listing service, real estate brokers' organization, or other service, organization, or facility relating to the business of selling or renting dwellings because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.20 C and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.8, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-150. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.9, eff. December 1, 1991; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-160. Discrimination in the making of loans and in the provision of other financial assistance.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person or entity whose business includes engaging in residential real estate-related transactions to discriminate against any person in making available loans or other financial assistance for a dwelling or that is or is to be secured by a dwelling because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, sexual identity, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

B. Prohibited practices under this section include but are not limited to, failing or refusing to provide to any person, in connection with a residential real estate-related transaction, information regarding the availability of loans or other financial assistance, application requirements, or procedures or standards for the review and approval of loans or financial assistance or providing information that is inaccurate or different from that provided others because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-96.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.10, eff. December 1, 1991.

18VAC135-50-170. Discrimination in the purchasing of loans.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person or entity engaged in the purchasing of loans or other debts or securities that support the purchase, construction, improvement, repair, or maintenance of a dwelling or that are secured by residential real estate to refuse to purchase such loans, debts, or securities, or to impose different terms or conditions for such purchases, because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness , national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

B. Unlawful conduct under this section includes but is not limited to:

1. Purchasing loans or other debts or securities that relate to or are secured by dwellings in certain communities or neighborhoods but not in others because of the race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran of persons in such neighborhoods or communities.

2. Pooling or packaging loans or other debts or securities that relate to or are secured by dwellings differently because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

3. Imposing or using different terms or conditions on the marketing or sale of securities issued on the basis of loans or other debts or securities that relate to or are secured by dwellings because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

C. This section does not prevent consideration, in the purchasing of loans, of factors justified by business necessity, including requirements of federal law, relating to a transaction's financial security or to protection against default or reduction of the value of the security. Thus, this provision would not preclude considerations employed in normal and prudent transactions, provided that no such factor may in any way relate to race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-96.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.11, eff. December 1, 1991.

18VAC135-50-180. Discrimination in the terms and conditions for making available loans or other financial assistance.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person or entity engaged in the making of loans or in the provision of other financial assistance relating to the purchase, construction, improvement, repair or maintenance of dwellings or which are secured by residential real estate to impose different terms or conditions for the availability of such loans or other financial assistance because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

B. Unlawful conduct under this section includes:

1. Using different policies, practices, or procedures in evaluating or in determining credit worthiness of any person in connection with the provision of any loan or other financial assistance for a dwelling or for any loan or other financial assistance that is secured by residential real estate because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

2. Determining the type of loan or other financial assistance to be provided with respect to a dwelling or fixing the amount, interest rate, duration, or other terms for a loan or other financial assistance for a dwelling which that is secured by residential real estate because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-96.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.12, eff. December 1, 1991.

18VAC135-50-190. Unlawful practices in the selling, brokering, or appraising of residential real property.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person or other entity whose business includes engaging in the selling, brokering or appraising of residential real property to discriminate against any person in making available such services, or in the performance of such services, because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

B. For the purposes of this section the term "appraisal" means an estimate or opinion of the value of a specified residential real property made in a business context in connection with the sale, rental, financing, or refinancing of a dwelling or in connection with any activity that otherwise affects the availability of a residential real estate-related transaction, whether the appraisal is oral or written, or transmitted formally or informally. The appraisal includes all written comments and other documents submitted as support for the estimate or opinion of value.

C. Practices that are unlawful under this section include using an appraisal of residential real property in connection with the sale, rental, or financing of any dwelling where the person knows or reasonably should know that the appraisal improperly takes into consideration race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.20 C and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.13, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-200. General prohibitions against discrimination because of handicap disability.

A. Definitions. As used in this section unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context:

"Accessible," when used with respect to the public and common use areas of a building containing covered multi-family dwellings, means that the public or common use areas of the building can be approached, entered, and used by individuals with physical disabilities. The phrase "readily accessible to and usable by" is synonymous with "accessible." A public or common use area that complies with the appropriate requirements of ANSI A117.1‑1986 or with any other standards adopted as part of regulations promulgated by HUD at 24 CFR Part 100 providing accessibility and usability for physically disabled people is accessible within the meaning of this section.

"Accessible route" means a continuous unobstructed path connecting accessible elements and spaces in a building or within a site that can be negotiated by a person with a severe disability using a wheelchair and that is also safe for and usable by people with other disabilities. Interior accessible routes may include corridors, floors, ramps, elevators, and lifts. Exterior accessible routes may include parking access aisles, curb ramps, walks, ramps, and lifts. A route that complies with the appropriate requirements of ANSI A117.1‑1986, or with any other standards adopted as part of regulations promulgated by HUD at 24 CFR Part 100, is an "accessible route."

"ANSI A117.1" means ANSI A117.1‑1986, the American National Standard for buildings and facilities providing accessibility and usability for physically disabled people, or an equivalent or stricter standard. This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 USC § 552(a) and 1 CFR Part 51. Copies may be obtained from Global Engineering Documents, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, Colorado 90112.

"Building" means a structure, facility, or portion thereof that contains or serves one or more dwelling units.

"Building entrance on an accessible route" means an accessible entrance to a building that is connected by an accessible route to public transportation stops, to accessible parking and passenger loading zones, or to public streets or sidewalks, if available. A building entrance that complies with ANSI A117.1 or a comparable standard complies with the requirements of this paragraph.

"Common use areas" shall include rooms, spaces, or elements inside or outside of a building that are not part of the dwelling unit and that are made available for the use of residents of a building or the guests thereof. These areas include hallways, lounges, lobbies, laundry rooms, refuse rooms, mailrooms, recreational areas, and passageways among and between buildings.

"Controlled substance" means any drug or other substance as defined in Virginia or federal law.

The following terms, as used in the definition of "disability" contained in § 36-96.1:1 of the Code of Virginia, shall mean:

1. "Has a record of such an impairment" means has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

2. "Is regarded as having an impairment" means:

a. Has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit one or more major life activities but that is treated by another person as constituting such a limitation;

b. Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of other toward such impairment; or

c. Has none of the impairments defined in "physical or mental impairment" but is treated by another person as having such an impairment.

3. "Major life activities" means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

4. "Physical or mental impairment" includes:

a. Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or

b. Any mental or psychological disorder, such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The term "physical or mental impairment" includes such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection, intellectual disability, emotional illness, drug addiction (other than addiction caused by current, illegal use of a controlled substance), and alcoholism.

"Dwelling unit" means a single unit of residence for a family or one or more persons. Examples of dwelling units include: a single family home; an apartment unit within an apartment building; and in other types of dwellings in which sleeping accommodations are provided but toileting or cooking facilities are shared by occupants of more than one room or portion of the dwelling, rooms in which people sleep. Examples of the latter include dormitory rooms and sleeping accommodations in shelters intended for occupancy as a residence for homeless persons.

"Entrance" means any access point to a building or portion of a building used by residents for the purpose of entering.

"Exterior" means all areas of the premises outside of an individual dwelling unit.

"First occupancy" means a building that has never before been used for any purpose.

"Ground floor" means a floor of a building with a building entrance on an accessible route. A building may have more than one ground floor.

"Interior" means the spaces, parts, components, or elements of an individual dwelling unit.

"Modification" means any change to the public or common use areas of a building or any change to a dwelling unit.

"Premises" means the interior or exterior spaces, parts, components, or elements of a building, including individual dwelling units and the public and common use areas of a building.

"Public use areas" means interior or exterior rooms or spaces of a building that are made available to the general public. Public use may be provided at a building that is privately or publicly owned.

"Site" means a parcel of land bounded by a property line or a designated portion of a public right of way.

B. General prohibitions against discrimination because of disability. It shall be unlawful to make an inquiry to determine whether an applicant for a dwelling; a person intending to reside in that dwelling after it is so sold, rented, or made available; or any person associated with that person has a disability or to make inquiry as to the nature or severity of a disability of such a person. However, this subsection does not prohibit the following inquiries, provided these inquiries are made of all applicants, whether or not they have s disabilities:

1. Inquiry into an applicant's ability to meet the requirements of ownership or tenancy;

2. Inquiry to determine whether an applicant is qualified for a dwelling available only to persons with s disabilities or to persons with a particular type of disability;

3. Inquiry to determine whether an applicant for a dwelling is qualified for a priority available to persons with s disabilities or to persons with a particular type of disability;

4. Inquiring whether an applicant for a dwelling is a current illegal abuser or addict of a controlled substance;

5. Inquiring whether an applicant has been convicted of the illegal manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance.

C. Reasonable modifications of existing premises.

1. It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to permit, at the expense of a disabled person, reasonable modifications of existing premises, occupied or to be occupied by a disabled person, if the proposed modifications may be necessary to afford the disabled person full enjoyment of the premises of a dwelling. In the case of a rental, the landlord may, where it is reasonable to do so, condition permission for a modification on the renter agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted. The landlord may not increase for disabled persons any customarily required security deposit. However, where it is necessary in order to ensure with reasonable certainty that funds will be available to pay for the restorations at the end of the tenancy, the landlord may negotiate as part of such a restoration agreement a provision requiring that the tenant pay into an interest bearing escrow account, over a reasonable period, a reasonable amount of money not to exceed the cost of the restorations. The interest in any such account shall accrue to the benefit of the tenant.

2. A landlord may condition permission for a modification on the renter providing a reasonable description of the proposed modifications as well as reasonable assurances that the work will be done in a workmanlike manner and that any required building permits will be obtained.

3. Except as otherwise provided, the Joint Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice "Reasonable Modifications under the Fair Housing Act" dated March 5, 2008, is hereby incorporated by reference to provide guidance regarding the rights and obligations of persons with disabilities and housing providers relating to reasonable modifications. A copy of the joint statement may be obtained from the Virginia Fair Housing Office.

D. Reasonable accommodations.

1. It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a disabled person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit, including public and common use areas.

2. Except as otherwise provided, the Joint Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice "Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act" dated May 17, 2004, is hereby incorporated by reference to provide guidance regarding the rights and obligations of persons with disabilities and housing providers relating to reasonable accommodations. A copy of this joint statement may also be obtained from the Virginia Fair Housing Office.

E. Design and construction requirements. Covered multi-family dwellings for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, shall be designed and constructed to have at least one building entrance on an accessible route unless it is impractical to do so because of the terrain or unusual characteristics of the site. The burden of establishing impracticality because of terrain or unusual site characteristics is on the person who designed or constructed the housing facility.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.8 and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia; 42 USC § 3613.  

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.14, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003; Volume 30, Issue 11, eff. March 1, 2014.

18VAC135-50-210. Housing for older persons.

Nothing in the Virginia Fair Housing Law regarding unlawful discrimination because of familial status shall apply to housing for older persons. As used in this section, "housing for older persons" includes:

1. Housing provided under any state or federal program determined by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to be specifically designed and operated to assist elderly persons;

2. 62 or over housing. The provisions regarding familial status in these regulations shall not apply to housing intended for, and solely occupied by persons 62 years of age or older. Housing satisfies the requirements of this exemption even though:

a. There are persons residing in such housing on September 13, 1988, who are under 62 years of age, provided that all new occupants are persons 62 years of age or older;

b. There are unoccupied units, provided that such units are reserved for occupancy by persons 62 years of age or older;

c. There are units occupied by employees of the housing (and family members residing in the same unit) who are under 62 years of age provided they perform substantial duties directly related to the management or maintenance of the housing.

3. 55-or-over housing. The provisions regarding familial status shall not apply to housing intended and operated for occupancy by at least one person 55 years of age or older per unit, provided that the housing satisfies the following requirements:

a. At least 80% of the occupied units in the housing facility are occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older per unit except that a newly constructed housing facility for first occupancy after March 12, 1989, need not comply with this section until 25% of the units in the facility are occupied.

(1) For purposes of this section, "occupied unit" means:

(a) A dwelling unit that is actually occupied by one or more persons on the date that the exemption for 55-or-older housing is claimed; or

(b) A temporarily vacant unit, if the primary occupant has resided in the unit during the past year and intends to return on a periodic basis.

(2) For purposes of this section, occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older means that on the date the exemption for 55-or-older housing is claimed:

(a) At least one occupant of the dwelling is 55 years of age or older; or

(b) If the dwelling unit is temporarily vacant, at least one of the occupants immediately prior to the date of which the unit was vacated was 55 years of age or older.

(3) Newly constructed housing for first occupancy after March 12, 1989, need not comply with the requirements of this section until at least 25% of the units are occupied. For purposes of this section, newly constructed housing includes facilities or communities that have been wholly unoccupied for at least 90 days prior to reoccupancy due to renovation or rehabilitation.

b. Housing satisfies the requirements of the 55 or older exemption even though:

(1) There are units occupied by employees of the housing facility or community (and family members residing in the same unit) who are under 55 years of age provided the employees perform substantial duties directly related to the management or maintenance of the housing facility or community.

(2) There are units occupied by persons who are necessary to provide a reasonable accommodation to disabled residents and who are under the age of 55.

(3) Reserves all unoccupied units for occupancy by at least one person 55 years of age or older until at least 80% of the units are occupied by at least one person who is 55 years of age or older.

c. Where application of the 80% rule results in a fraction of a unit, that unit shall be considered to be included in the units that must be occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older.

d. Each housing facility or community may determine the age restriction for units that are not occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older so long as the housing facility or community complies with the provisions of 18VAC135-50-220.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.20 C and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.15, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-212. Intent to operate as 55 or over housing.

A. In order for a housing facility or community to qualify as 55-or-older housing, it must publish and adhere to policies and procedures that demonstrate its intent to operate as housing for persons 55 years of age or older. The following factors are considered relevant in determining whether the housing facility or community has complied with this requirement:

1. The manner in which the housing facility or community is described to prospective residents;

2. Any advertising designed to attract prospective residents;

3. Lease provisions;

4. Written rules, regulations, covenants, deeds or other restrictions;

5. The maintenance and consistent application of relevant procedures;

6. Actual practices of the housing facility or community; and

7. Public posting in common areas of statements describing the facility or community as housing for persons 55 years of age or older.

B. Phrases such as "adult living," "adult community," "40-and-over community," or similar statements in any written advertisement or prospectus are not consistent with the intent that the housing facility or community intends to operate as housing for persons 55 years of age or older.

C. If there is language in deeds or other community or facility documents that is inconsistent with the intent to provide housing for persons who are 55 years of age or older, the board shall consider documented evidence of a good faith attempt to remove such language in determining whether the housing facility or community complies with the requirements of this section.

D. A housing facility or community may allow occupancy by families with children as long as it meets the requirements of 18VAC135-50-210 3 a and subsection A of this section.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.20 C and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-215. Verification of occupancy.

A. In order for a housing facility or community to qualify as 55-or-older housing, it must be able to produce, in response to a housing complaint filed under the Virginia Fair Housing Law, verification of compliance with these regulations through reliable surveys and affidavits.

B. A facility or community shall, within 180 days of the effective date of this rule, develop procedures for routinely determining the occupancy of each unit, including the identification of whether at least one occupant of each unit is 55 years of age or older. Such procedures may be part of a normal leasing or purchasing arrangement.

C. The procedures described in subsection B of this section must provide for regular updates through surveys or other means, of the initial information supplied by the occupants of the housing facility or community. Such updates must take place at least once every two years.

D. The following documents are considered reliable documentation of the age of the occupants of the housing facility or community.

1. Driver's license;

2. Birth certificate;

3. Passports;

4. Immigration cards;

5. Military identification;

6. Any other state, local, national or international official documents containing a birth date of comparable reliability; or

7. A certification in a lease, application, affidavit, or other document signed by an adult member of the household asserting that at least one person in the unit is 55 years of age or older.

E. If the occupants of a unit refuse to comply with the age verification procedures, the housing facility or community may, if it has sufficient evidence, consider the unit occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older. Such evidence may include:

1. Government records or documents, such as a census; or

2. Prior forms or applications; or

3. A statement from an individual who has personal knowledge of the age of the occupants. The individual's statement must set forth the basis for such knowledge and be signed under penalty of perjury.

F. Surveys and verification procedures that comply with the requirements of this section shall be admissible in administrative and judicial proceedings for the purpose of verifying occupancy.

G. Occupancy surveys shall be available for inspection upon reasonable notice and request by any person.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.20 C and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-217. Good faith defense against civil money damages.

A. A person shall not be held personally liable for monetary damages for discriminating on the basis of familial status, if the person acted with the good faith belief that the housing facility or community qualified as 55-or-older housing.

B. A person claiming the good faith belief defense must have actual knowledge that the housing facility or community has, through an authorized representative, asserted in writing that it qualifies as 55-or-older housing.

C. For purposes of this section, an authorized representative, of a housing facility or community means the individual, committee, management company, owner, or other entity having responsibility for adherence to the requirements established by these regulations.

D. A person shall not be entitled to the good faith belief defense if the person has actual knowledge that the housing facility or community does not, or will not qualify as 55-or-older housing. Such a person will be ineligible for the good faith belief defense regardless of whether the person received or viewed the written assurance described in subsection B of this section.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.20 C and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-220. Interference, coercion, or intimidation.

A. This section provides the board's interpretation of the conduct that is unlawful under § 36-96.5 of the Virginia Fair Housing Law.

B. It shall be unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of that person having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of that person having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by the Virginia Fair Housing Law and these regulations.

C. Conduct made unlawful under this section includes the following:

1. Coercing a person, either orally, in writing, or by other means, to deny or limit the benefits provided that person in connection with the sale or rental of a dwelling or in connection with a residential real estate-related transaction because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran.

2. Threatening, intimidating, or interfering with persons in their enjoyment of a dwelling because of the race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran, of such persons or of visitors or associates of such persons.

3. Threatening an employee or agent with dismissal or an adverse employment action, or taking such adverse employment action, for any effort to assist a person seeking access to the sale or rental of a dwelling or seeking access to any residential real estate-related transaction because of the race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, elderliness, national origin, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran of that person or of any person associated with that person.

4. Intimidating or threatening any person because that person is engaging in activities designed to make other persons aware of, or encouraging such other persons to exercise, rights granted or protected by this part.

5. Retaliating against any person because that person has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in a proceeding under the fair housing law.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.8 and 54.1-2344 of the Code of Virginia; 42 USC § 3613.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.16, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003; Volume 23, Issue 22, eff. September 22, 2007.

18VAC135-50-230. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 §§ 2.17 to 2.19, eff. December 1, 1991; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

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