English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

You are here

Home » Fair Housing » Sex In Housing

Sex In Housing

Sex In Housing


The Fair Housing Act provides specific protections regardless of sex. Sex refers to:

  • Sex (biological)
  • Gender Identity
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Domestic Violence Survivor Status
  • Sexual Harassment


Under the Fair Housing Act, housing providers cannot:

  • Use ads that target individuals based on sex or show a preference
  • Engage in sexual harassment such as quid pro quo or creating a hostile environment
  • Enforce policies that negatively impact domestic violence survivors
  • Apply different terms or conditions to one sex and not all
  • Deny applications based on gender identity


Some potential signs of sex discrimination could be[1]:

Quid pro Quo

  • Evicting someone because they will not accept sexual advances
  • A maintenance man refusing to make repairs unless a tenant gives him nude photos of herself.

Hostile Environment

  • A landlord subjecting a tenant to severe or pervasive unwelcome touching, kissing, or groping.
  • A property manager making severe or pervasive unwelcome, lewd comments about a tenant’s body.
  • A maintenance man sending a tenant severe or pervasive unwelcome, sexually suggestive texts and entering her apartment without invitation or permission.


Domestic Violence:

  • It is imperative that a DV survivor keep a record of events for their own safety. 
  • Housing providers may request documents to show DV status[2].


Tenant can also provide:

  • Police reports
  • Court records
  • Statements from a qualified third party professional who is familiar with the event (attorneys, victim service providers, medical professionals) ​


Housing Providers are required to keep domestic violence documents separate from tenant file


Useful Tips[3]:

  • Keep a journal of incidents of discrimination.
  • Write down what you experienced, including names, dates, addresses, rental terms, and any other details about your interaction.
  • Keep any documents related to the discrimination, including all emails and text communications.
  • Following the incident, you have one year to file an administrative complaint or two years to file a lawsuit in court.

When you file your complaint with WSHRC or HUD, you should provide the name of the person harassing you, when and where it happened, and the names of any witnesses or other individuals who have been or are being harassed.





The work that provided the bases for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations continued in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.