Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 36. Housing
Chapter 5.1. Virginia Fair Housing Law
8/9/2020

§ 36-96.3. Unlawful discriminatory housing practices.

A. It shall be an unlawful discriminatory housing practice for any person to:

1. Refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer or refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, source of funds, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran;

2. Discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in the connection therewith to any person because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, source of funds, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran;

3. 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 or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or disability. The use of words or symbols associated with a particular religion, national origin, sex, or race shall be prima facie evidence of an illegal preference under this chapter that shall not be overcome by a general disclaimer. However, reference alone to places of worship, including churches, synagogues, temples, or mosques, in any such notice, statement, or advertisement shall not be prima facie evidence of an illegal preference;

4. Represent to any person because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or disability that any dwelling is not available for inspection, sale, or rental when such dwelling is in fact so available;

5. Deny any person access to membership in 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 or discriminate against such person in the terms or conditions of such access, membership, or participation because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or disability;

6. Include in any transfer, sale, rental, or lease of housing any restrictive covenant that discriminates because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or disability or for any person to honor or exercise, or attempt to honor or exercise, any such discriminatory covenant pertaining to housing;

7. Induce or attempt to induce to sell or rent any dwelling by representations regarding the entry or prospective entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons of a particular race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or disability;

8. Refuse to sell or rent, or refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise discriminate or make unavailable or deny a dwelling because of a disability of (i) the buyer or renter; (ii) a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is so sold, rented, or made available; or (iii) any person associated with the buyer or renter; or

9. Discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith because of a disability of (i) that person; (ii) a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it was so sold, rented, or made available; or (iii) any person associated with that buyer or renter.

B. For the purposes of this section, discrimination includes (i) a refusal to permit, at the expense of the disabled person, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by any person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises; except that, in the case of a rental, the landlord may, where it is reasonable to do so, condition permission for a modification on the renter's agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted; (ii) a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, practices, policies, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling; or (iii) in connection with the design and construction of covered multi-family dwellings for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, a failure to design and construct dwellings in such a manner that:

1. The public use and common use areas of the dwellings are readily accessible to and usable by disabled persons;

2. All the doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises are sufficiently wide to allow passage by disabled persons in wheelchairs; and

3. All premises within covered multi-family dwelling units contain an accessible route into and through the dwelling; light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls are in accessible locations; there are reinforcements in the bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and there are usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space. As used in this subdivision, the term "covered multi-family dwellings" means buildings consisting of four or more units if such buildings have one or more elevators and ground floor units in other buildings consisting of four or more units.

C. Compliance with the appropriate requirements of the American National Standards for Building and Facilities (commonly cited as "ANSI A117.1") or with any other standards adopted as part of regulations promulgated by HUD providing accessibility and usability for physically disabled people shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of subdivision B 3.

D. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to invalidate or limit any Virginia law or regulation that requires dwellings to be designed and constructed in a manner that affords disabled persons greater access than is required by this chapter.

1972, c. 591, § 36-88; 1973, c. 358; 1978, c. 138; 1984, c. 685; 1985, c. 344; 1989, c. 88; 1991, c. 557; 1992, c. 322; 1996, c. 327; 2020, cc. 477, 1137, 1140.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.