National Origin

It is illegal to discriminate against someone based on his or her national origin. You are protected against unlawful housing discrimination on the basis of your national origin—that is, your country of birth– or the national origin or country of birth of your ancestors. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, national origin discrimination can be based either upon the country of an individual’s birth or where his or her ancestors originated. Similar terms might include “culture,” “nationality,” “ethnic group,” or “ancestry.”

If you are denied an opportunity to buy, rent, finance or insure a home or apartment—or given false information by a housing provider—because of your national origin, you are a victim of illegal housing discrimination. It is also illegal for landlords or other housing providers to treat an existing tenant or resident differently because of their national origin.

Examples & Warning Signs of National Origin Discrimination

  • Refusing to rent to undocumented immigrants or to process their rental applications because they do not have a social security number or other identification available only to U.S. citizens and documented residents. (Exception: some federally-funded housing programs, like Section 8 and public housing, are required to verify legal U.S. residency.)
  • Threatening to contact immigration authorities because a tenant requests repairs or makes other complaints.
  • Segregating people into different parts of an apartment complex or steering them to different areas or neighborhoods because of their national origin.

See how one woman fought lending discrimination based on her national origin.

If you believe you were discriminated against because of your national origin, file a complaint.