Virginia law prohibits discrimination on the basis of 'elderliness,' which is defined as age 55 and older for purposes of fair housing. Because the Commonwealth includes older Virginians as a protected class, its provisions are even broader than the federal fair housing law. The law also offers protection against discrimination based on disability. For Virginians who are disabled as well, in most instances, housing providers must allow reasonable modifications (i.e., grab bars, wider doorways) and accommodations (handicapped parking spaces, for example).
The Virginia Fair Housing Office (VFHO) operates under the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. VFHO investigates complaints of housing discrimination, tries to resolve complaints fairly through voluntary conciliation, and offers free training and outreach to educate consumers and housing providers.
Your Right to Non-Discriminatory Treatment
It's illegal for housing providers - property managers, owners, landlords, real estate agents, banks, savings institutions, credit unions, insurance companies, mortgage lenders, and appraisers - to treat you differently because of elderliness.
If you are 55 or older, you may file a complaint with VFHO if a housing provider:
- Refuses to rent, sell, or deal with you;
- Discriminates on the conditions or terms of sale, rental, occupancy, or facilities;
- Advertises in a discriminatory way;
- Falsely denies you housing availability; or
- Discriminates in financing or in broker's services.
File a Complaint
If you think you have been discriminated against or if you have questions about the fair housing laws call 804-367-8530 or 888-551-3247. For TDD users, please call the Virginia Relay by dialing 7-1-1. You may also write Virginia Fair Housing Office, 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 400, Richmond, Virginia 23233-1463. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The fax number is 866-480-8333.
You can also visit a webpage that provides a complaint form that may be filled out and mailed in: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/FairHousing/#a2.