NO LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS FOR ANTI-GAY HOUSING DISCRIMINATION IN 28 STATES

While 28 States Provide No Non-Discrimination Housing Laws To Protect LGBT Members, GayRealEstate.com Is Dedicated to Matching Members of the LGBTQ Community With Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Offering Free Buyers Representation.

While there are no federal laws which specifically address housing discrimination against LGBT individuals, GayRealEstate.com, a service connecting clients with compatible agents, remains committed to the mission of finding safe, welcoming homes for LGBT individuals

In United States housing law, only 21 states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and one additional state prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation only, leaving 28 states with no protection against housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Wisconsin prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation only. The remaining states have no explicit laws which protect housing discrimination against LGBT individuals.

Some cities within the states without legal protections in housing have provided legal protections. Here’s a look at the Top 50 Cities across America:GRE-Infographic-TopUSCities-01 (2)

  1. New York, NY: New York City is subject to not only the New York State Human Rights Law but also the New York City State Human Rights Law; both prohibit housing and lending discrimination based on several protected characteristics. Included in these protected characteristics are sexual orientation and/or gender identity, passed in 2002 and 2015 respectively.    New York also has dedicated resources for service/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.
  2. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles is subject to California State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1999 and/or gender identity in 2004.  The City of Los Angeles is also strongly committed to affordable housing that is nondiscriminatory, fully accessible, and in full compliance with fair housing and disability rights laws.
  3. Chicago, IL: In 2005, Illinois passed legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The City of Chicago has enacted two powerful anti-discrimination ordinances.  The Chicago Human Rights Ordinance prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, credit transactions, employment, and bonding.  The Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance prohibits housing discrimination.  Both ordinances prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  4. Houston, TX: Unfortunately, Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity but there are six cities, not including Houston, in Texas than have their own local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment. Those cities include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Plano, and San Antonio, which account for 12% of the Texas population.  Houston does have resources dedicated to service/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  5. Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia is one out of 50 cities in Pennsylvania that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment whereas Pennsylvania State has not. There are an additional two counties in Pennsylvania that have passed anti-discrimination ordinances including sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The 50 cities and two counties account for 33% of the Pennsylvania population.
  6. Phoenix, AZ: Arizona State does not have any LGBTQ protection ordinances but there are five cities that have local legislation protecting against discrimination for housing, public accommodations, or employment based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Those five cities include Flagstaff, Phoenix, Sedona, Tempe, and Tucson.  These five cities account for 35% of the Arizona population.  Phoenix also has resources dedicated to service/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  7. San Antonio, TX: Although Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity, San Antonio is one of six cities that have their own ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing and public accommodations. This does not include employment.  San Antonio also has programs that support/service LGBTQ youth and homeless, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.  The other cities with local ordinances include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, and Plano.  These six cities account for 12% of Texas’ population.
  8. San Diego, CA: San Diego is subject to California State law which passed legislation in 1999 that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and in 2004 for gender identity. The City of San Diego, specifically, is committed to furthering fair housing efforts by continuing to address discrimination in their community and supporting education programs regarding the right to equal housing opportunities.
  9. Dallas, TX: Texas State does not have discrimination protection for sexual orientation or gender identity, but Dallas is one of six cities that has their own ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and employment. Dallas also has resources dedicated to services/support for LGBTQ youth and elders and people living with HIV/AIDS.  The other cities with local ordinances include Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, Plano, and San Antonio.  These six cities account for 12% of Texas’ population.
  10. San Jose, CA: San Jose is subject to California State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, in 1999 and 2004 respectively. San Jose is one of the more progressive cities in California as the The San Jose City Council banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1979; 20 years ahead of the state law for sexual orientation.
  11. Austin, TX: Although Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity, Austin is one of six cities that have their own ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing and public accommodations. This does not include employment.  The other cities with local ordinances include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Plano.  These six cities account for 12% of Texas’ population.
  12. Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville is one out of 25 cities in Florida that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and employment; Florida has not passed these ordinances at the state level. There are an additional 11 counties in Florida that have passed anti-discrimination ordinances including sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The 25 cities and 11 counties account for 60% of the Florida’s population.
  13. San Francisco, CA: At the state level, California has passed legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation, since 1999, and/or gender identity, since 2004. The City of San Francisco also has its own laws governing against discrimination of additional protected classes which include persons with AIDS, transgenderism, and height and/or weight.
  14. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana has not passed state-level ordinances protecting sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but Indianapolis is one of 15 cities, and three counties, that have passed ordinances at the local level. Indianapolis also has the Indiana Civil Rights Commission for NDO enforcement, non-discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity in city and city contractor employment, and services/support for people living with AIDS/HIV.  The 15 cities and three counties account for 32% of the Indiana’s population.
  15. Columbus, OH: While Ohio has not instated anti-discrimination laws protecting sexual orientation and/or gender identity, Columbus is one of 21 cities in Ohio that has passed protectionist laws at the local level. Columbus ranks as one of the most progressive cities with NDO enforcement by the Columbus Human Rights Commission, a LGBTQ liaison to city executives, an LBGTQ police liaison and/or task force, and openly LGBTQ elected or appointed municipal leaders.  The 22 cities with local ordinances account for 22% of Ohio’s population.
  16. Fort Worth, TX: Fort Worth is one of six cities in Texas that have instated local ordinances that prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. Texas State does not have these protections.  Fort Worth also has resources dedicated to service/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.  The other cities with local ordinances in Texas include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Plano, and San Antonio.  These six cities account for 12% of Texas’ population.
  17. Charlotte, NC: North Carolina is one of the few states that explicitly bans cities and counties from passing nondiscrimination provisions related to housing, public accommodations, and employment with 0% of the state population protected against discrimination for sexual orientation or gender identity related to those categories. Charlotte does have nondiscrimination laws against city and city contractor employment regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  They also have NDO enforcement by the Human Relations Commission and they provide services/support to LGBTQ youth and persons with HIV/AIDS.
  18. Seattle, WA: Since 2006, Washington has protected individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity regarding housing, public accommodations, and employment. Seattle also has The Gender Justice Project which works to advance policy solutions that promote equality related to all-gender restrooms and guidance on gender identity in the workplace.  Their work ensures City of Seattle staff understand how to work with transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.
  19. Denver, CO: Colorado State passed ordinances in 2008 that ensure 100% of the population is protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. These ordinances cover housing and commercial space, employment, public accommodations, private education institutions, and private health and welfare services.  The Denver Anti-Discrimination Office (DADO) is one of three municipal offices in Colorado that protects sexual orientation and gender variance.
  20. El Paso, TX: Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that offers protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity. El Paso is one of six cities that have their own ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity but only in public accommodations. Their legislation does not currently include housing or employment.  The other cities with local ordinances include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, and Plano.
  21. Detroit, MI: Detroit is one of 41 Michigan cities that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and employment. Michigan does not currently have any statewide protections for these categories.  In addition to nondiscrimination laws, Detroit also has NDO enforcement by the Human Rights Commission and provides support/service to people living with HIV/AIDS.  The 41 cities that have local ordinances only account for 22% of Michigan’s total population.
  22. Washington, DC: The District of Columbia amended state legislation in 1977 to cover sexual orientation discrimination for housing, public accommodations, and employment. The legislation was amended again in 2006 to include gender identity.  In 2015, the D. C. City Council approved the Human Rights Amendment Act, which protects LGBTQ students from discrimination.
  23. Boston, MA: Since 1989, Massachusetts state law has protected against discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 2011, nondiscrimination laws were also passed for gender identity and transgender employees of the state government.  Boston was also the first U. S. State to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, making it one of the most LBGTQ friendly states in the country.  Boston also allocated resources to assist with NDO enforcement, LGBTQ homeless and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  24. Memphis, TN: Tennessee currently does not have any nondiscrimination protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, or employment. The state also has laws preventing passage or enforcement of local nondiscrimination laws making it one of the least LGBTQ friendly states.  Regardless of the state law, the City of Memphis does do all that they can faced with the state law that restricts their ability to pass LGBTQ-inclusive ordinances including nondiscrimination in city employment, a LGBTQ liaison to city executives, and an LGBTQ task force.
  25. Nashville, TN: Tennessee currently does not have any nondiscrimination protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, or employment. The state also has laws preventing passage or enforcement of local nondiscrimination laws making it one of the least LGBTQ friendly states.  Nashville is the top inclusive city in Tennessee as it has NDO enforcement by the Human Relations Commission and provides services/support to people living with HIV/AIDS.
  26. Portland, OR: Portland is subject to Oregon State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity in 2007. In addition to a Human Rights Commission, Portland also offers services and support to LBGTQ elders, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.
  27. Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma State does not currently have any nondiscrimination laws covering sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2016, Oklahoma City passed a protection for housing only based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  Only 3% of Oklahoma State’s population is protected against sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination.
  28. Las Vegas, NV: Las Vegas is subject to Nevada State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in 2011. Although the city does not have a Human Rights Committee, the state has the Nevada Equal Rights Commission.  Las Vegas provides services/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.  Las Vegas has also elected or appointed openly LGBTQ municipal leaders.
  29. Baltimore, MD: Anti-discrimination laws in Maryland for sexual orientation were passed in 2001 and gender identity in 2014. The laws cover housing, public accommodations, and employment.  Baltimore has NDO enforcement by a Human Relations Committee and provides services/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  30. Louisville, KY: Kentucky does not have any state-level laws prohibiting the discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but Louisville is one of eight cities in the state that does prohibit sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination for housing, public accommodations, and employment. Louisville does not have any additional services, programs or resources dedicated to the LGBTQ community.  The 8 cities, and two additional counties, account for 27% of Kentucky’s total population.
  31. Milwaukee, WI: Passed in 2018, Wisconsin has antidiscrimination laws that offer protection based on sexual orientation for housing, public accommodations, and employment but that does not include gender identity. Only 5 cities, including Milwaukee, and 3 counties in Wisconsin offer local laws that offer protection against gender identity discrimination for housing and employment, which accounts for 22% of the state’s population.  There is no gender identity discrimination protection for public accommodations in Milwaukee.  Milwaukee also offers NDO enforcement by the Equal Rights Commission and services/support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
  32. Albuquerque, NM: New Mexico has antidiscrimination laws, passed in 2003, covering sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment. Albuquerque specifically has the Albuquerque Human Rights Office for NDO enforcement and provides services/support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
  33. Tucson, AZ: Tucson is one of five cities that have instated local ordinances that protect against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing. Arizona State does not have any LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws. The additional four cities include Flagstaff, Phoenix, Sedona, and Tempe.  Those five cities account for 35% of the Arizona population.  Tucson also has programs to support LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  34. Fresno, CA: Although Fresno is subject to California State law, which prohibits discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity, the city itself is less progressive than other California cities as it does not have any additional councils or programs to assist with the LGBTQ community, persons living with AIDS/HIV, or transgender individuals. California passed legislation in 1999 to protect against discrimination for sexual orientation and again in 2009 for gender identity discrimination.
  35. Sacramento, CA: Sacramento is subject to California State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The City of Sacramento also offers services and support to LBGTQ elders and persons living with AIDS/HIV.  Sacramento has also elected and/or appointed openly LGBTQ municipal leaders.  California passed legislation in 1999 to protect against discrimination for sexual orientation and again in 2009 for gender identity discrimination.
  36. Kansas City, MO: Although Missouri does not have any antidiscrimination laws related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity, Kansas City is one of 12 Missouri cities that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment. Those 12 cities and 2 additional counties account for 35% of the state’s population.  Kansas City also offers services/support to LGBTQ youth, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.
  37. Long Beach, CA: Long Beach is subject to California State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The City of Long Beach also offers services and support to LBGTQ youth and persons living with AIDS/HIV.  Additional benefits from Long Beach include NDO enforcement by the Human Relations Commission, transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits, and non-discrimination in city and city contractor employment.  California passed legislation in 1999 to protect against discrimination for sexual orientation and again in 2009 for gender identity discrimination.
  38. Mesa, AZ: Unfortunately, Arizona State does not have any statewide LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws. Arizona does have five cities that have instated local ordinances that protect LGBTQ individuals for housing. The additional four cities include Flagstaff, Phoenix, Sedona, and Tempe.  Those four cities account for 35% of the Arizona population.  Mesa does not have any additional services, programs or resources dedicated to the LGBTQ community.
  39. Atlanta, GA: There are no housing, public accommodations, or employment nondiscrimination laws in the state of Georgia covering sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  Atlanta, and one other Georgia county, have passed local ordinances that protect against sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination for housing, public accommodations, and employment.  Atlanta and Macon-Bibb County account for 6% of the total population of Georgia. Atlanta also has a Human Relations Commission to enforce the NDO as well as elected or appointed openly LGBTQ municipal leaders.
  40. Colorado Springs, CO: Passed in 2008, Colorado State offers statewide protection based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. While Colorado Springs does not have nearly as many protections or programs as Denver, it is still subject to state nondiscrimination laws.
  41. Virginia Beach, VA: Unfortunately, Virginia State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity. There are two cities and one county in Virginia than have their own ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and one city that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing, and/or public accommodations.  The two cities and county are Alexandria, Charlottesville, and Arlington County, which account for 3% of the total Virginia population.
  42. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina is one of the few states that explicitly bans cities and counties from passing nondiscrimination provisions related to housing, public accommodations, and employment with 0% of the state population protected against discrimination for sexual orientation or gender identity related to those categories. Charlotte does have nondiscrimination laws against city and city contractor employment regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  They also have the NC Human Relations Commission and they provide services/support to LGBTQ elders and persons with HIV/AIDS.
  43. Omaha, NE: Although Nebraska does not have any antidiscrimination laws related to sexual orientation or gender identity, Omaha is the only Nebraska city that has passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for public accommodations and employment. There are no regulations against housing discrimination for sexual orientation and/or gender identity at the state or local level.  Omaha accounts for 22% of the total population in Nebraska.
  44. Miami, FL: Miami is one out of 25 cities in Florida that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and employment; Florida has not passed these ordinances at the state level. There are an additional 11 counties in Florida, including Miami-Dade County, that have passed anti-discrimination ordinances including sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The 25 cities and 11 counties account for 60% of the Florida’s population.
  45. Oakland, CA: At the state level, California has passed legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation in 1999 and/or gender identity in 2004. The City of Oakland also offers services and support to persons living with AIDS/HIV.  Oakland also has anti-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in city employment and non-discrimination ordinances against sexual orientation, but not gender identity, for city contractors.
  46. Minneapolis, MN: In 2003, Minnesota passed legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment. The City of Minneapolis also the Commission on Civil Rights for NDO enforcement, a LGBTQ liaison to city executives, and an LGBTQ police liaison/task force.
  47. Tulsa, OK: Oklahoma State does not currently have any nondiscrimination laws covering sexual orientation or gender identity. The City of Tulsa has passed a protection for housing only based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  Only 3% of Oklahoma State’s population is protected against sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination for housing, public accommodations, and employment.
  48. Wichita, KS: At a state level, Kansas does not have any antidiscrimination ordinances based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Kansas has three cities and one county, not including Wichita, that have passed local laws preventing discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment, which account for 11% of the total Kansas population.
  49. New Orleans, LA: While Louisiana does not have any nondiscrimination ordinances covering sexual orientation or gender identity, New Orleans is one of two cities that have instated local laws for housing, public accommodations, and employment against sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination.  New Orleans and Shreveport make up 12% of the total population of Louisiana.
  50. Arlington, TX: Unfortunately, Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity but there are six cities in Texas than have their own ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in employment, housing, and/or public accommodations. Those cities include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Plano, and San Antonio, which account for 12% of the Texas population.

The GayRealEstate.com team is committed to ensuring that their clients are connected with agents who will represent their best interests and treat them with respect. The real estate service links clients with trustworthy gay, lesbian and gay-friendly agents who have been interviewed and investigated extensively and maintain equal respect and dedication for all clients.

GayRealEstate.com is dedicated to eliminating the stress and uncertainty of searching for professionals who respect each client’s dignity. Clients are assured that agents will not refuse services or under represent their needs based on sexual orientation or same-sex relationships. Furthermore, agents affiliated with GayRealEstate.com understand the unique needs of LGBT community members and how to best meet them in their local regions.

With more than 25 years of experience as the industry leader, GayRealEstate.com is proud to support the LGBT community and strives to ensure that every real estate transaction is conducted with integrity and without discrimination or intolerance.

 

 

How Does Fair Housing Laws Affect Same Sex Couples

The Federal Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, basically prohibits the refusal to negotiate, rent or sell housing, deny a dwelling, set different terms and conditions, or provide different housing services or facilities based on race, color, national origin, sex, familial status or handicap. The Act may exempt owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without a broker, and housing that limit occupancy to members only by organizations and private clubs. There are currently no legal protections for LGBT under the federal fair housing laws.

downloadFederal Agency Protections for Same Sex Couples

Many states, municipalities and some federal agencies have statutes or ordinances that protect LGBT against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Sexual Orientation refers to an individual’s emotional or physical attraction to the same or opposite gender. Examples include straight, bisexual, gay and lesbian. Gender identity refers a person’s identification of themselves as man or woman regardless of the gender that they were born as or the sex listed on the birth certificate.

The Federal Housing and Urban Development, HUD, agency implemented a rule in 2012 designed to make its core programs available regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.  The rule applies to owners and operators of HUD assisted housing or housing insured by HUD in HUDs rental assistance and home ownership programs.

What this means is that the owners of any housing that is HUD assisted or insured through the Federal Housing Administration, FHA, cannot discriminate against same sex couples in rental and housing programs. FHA was made a part of the HUD agency in 1965 and FHA is required to follow HUDs rules and policies.

HUD has jurisdiction over LGBT individual and family complaints. If you feel that you have been discriminated against, you should contact your local HUD office.

State and Municipality Protections for Same Sex Couples

The states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia have enacted fair housing laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. New Hampshire, New York and Wisconsin prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Many municipalities in those states and in other states have enacted ordinances that prohibit discrimination laws based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

How Anti-Discrimination Laws and Ordinances Affect Same Sex Couples

The above outline of the anti-discrimination laws, ordinances and policies are designed to give you some insight into what protections may be available to you. As noted above, those protections vary by location and can be complex and hard to understand. If you would like more information, you should contact your local civil rights agency or an LGBT attorney.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or seeking rental property, you should consider contacting a local LGBT real estate agent via GayRealEstate.com. He or she will be up to date on laws that may affect you and will have the knowledge and expertise to assist you in finding housing that is suitable for your needs.

5 Home Buying Pitfalls for Same Sex Unmarried Couples.

Same sex unmarried couples face a different set of legal issues than married couples. Failing to plan for the future is the number one mistake that partners make. Some of the home buying pitfalls for same sex unmarried couples are outlined below.

images (1)1. Consider putting both of your names on the deed. While it may be tempting to purchase a home with only one of your names on the deed, the partner’s name that is left off will a legal right to the home. This is true even if that partner contributes to the household and helps pay the mortgage. Note that there are other estate planning methods that can be used to protect a partner’s interest if his name is not on the deed. For more information, see our article Gay Couples, Estate Issues and Real Estate.

2. Failing to agree on what percentage each partner will own in the home. Unless you agree on this issue beforehand and either hold title by tenancy in common, where each partner can own the same or a different percentage of the real estate, or create a legal partnership agreement, you will both own the home equally in almost all states according to Nolo Law for All. This pitfall may become an issue if one of you pays a larger percentage towards the purchase or the expenses involved in owning the home. For more information, see our article Top 5 Ways to Protect Yourself When Purchasing a Home With Your Partner.

3. Assuming that each partner will pay half of the mortgage payment, insurance and taxes as well as the utilities and maintenance. If one partner makes substantially more than the other partner, it would fair to come to an agreement as to what percentage each partner will pay that both parties are comfortable with. Discussing this issue and coming to an agreement before purchasing your home can help avoid disputes down the road.

4. Failing to decide what will happen to the real estate should your relationship dissolve. If one of you moves out of the home, how will the real estate be dealt with? For example, will one partner have the right to buy the other partner out, will the home be sold to a third party, and, in that case, who will pay the bills until the home is sold? This issue should be discussed and your decision included in your partnership agreement.

5. Failing to create a will to protect your partner. Unless ownership of the home is held by joint tenancy with right of survivorship or a will is prepared that bequeaths the deceased partner’s ownership in the home to the surviving partner, the deceased partner’s portion will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy of the state of residence. Intestacy laws relate to who directly inherits from a deceased person and generally includes wife, children, parents and then siblings. Unmarried partners, even if they own a home together, cannot inherit according to the intestacy laws in all states.

Taking steps to avoid the home buying pitfalls for same sex unmarried couples will help protect both you and your partner in the event of death or dissolution of the relationship. The above information is not intended as legal advice. Same sex couples who intend to purchase a home together should consult an LGBT real estate agent from seasoned sites like GayRealEstate.com for expert help in the purchasing process.

My Partner And I Are Splitting Up…Can I Buy Him/Her Out Of The Home We Own Together?

You may buy your partner out of the home that you own together if he or she agrees to sell it to you. A problem arises when you both want the home or your partner does not want to sell his or her interest to you and you do not have a written agreement setting out how this situation will be dealt with.

Gay Separation and Real EstateYour options are to work out an agreement with your partner or follow your state’s legal procedures and ask the court to order the home sold. An agreement is generally cheaper because you avoid the costs associated with selling a home on the open market. If you cannot come to an agreement, you may want to consider hiring a mediation service. A mediator is trained to resolve disputes and will develop a solution that takes into consideration both of your thoughts and feelings.

If you cannot come to an agreement and need to resort to the legal system, you must file what is known as a ‘partition’. The home will be ordered sold and the net proceeds split both of you. Net proceeds are the funds available after paying the mortgage, any liens and the cost of the sale. Before forcing the sale, the judge has the option of permitting one of the co-owners to purchase the other’s interest in the home at fair market value.

Fair market value is found by comparing the amount that other similar homes are selling for in the local market and the age, location and condition of the home. The result should be in the range of what a buyer would be willing to pay to the seller for the home in its current condition. A real estate appraiser that is familiar with your local market should be hired to find the fair market value of your home.

According to Nolo Law for All, most states presume that the individual’s interest in the home is 50 percent each if both names are on the deed. A dispute may arise if one party feels that he or she is entitled to a larger share of the home due to contributions of either significant extra money or labor. If this conflict arises, you can try to reach a fair settlement agreement. One method is to total the amount of down payment, mortgage payments, improvements and labor each has contributed and then compare the figures to come up with the percentage each owns in the home. If you cannot agree on a percentage, you may want to hire a mediator to help you resolve the issue.

Transferring ownership of a home involves deeds, taxes, filing fees and other costs that must be taken into consideration. It would be wise to consult a real estate broker or an attorney to find out what your state’s requirements are and to assist you with the transfer or sale of the home.

How DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) Affects Same-Sex Mortgage Tax Deduction

At first the extent of discrimination is subtle when it comes to real estate laws with same sex couples, not realizing the ramifications financially until they have actually bought a house together and it is time to file income tax.  It is then that they realize that that the federal definition of marriage deprives them of the right to claim their mortgage tax deduction jointly.  In short, this is like being penalized financially for not being heterosexual, especially if one partner passes away and the other is left holding the bag for paying all of the taxes.

Gay MarriageThe federal definition of marriage is known as DOMA, which stands for the Defense of Marriage Act. The Supreme Court may strike down this law, which has been challenged as unconstitutional, because it strictly defines marriage as being a union between a man and a woman and does not recognize the legal union of gay/lesbian couples.

Quite simply marriage is a legal status that provides both spouses various reciprocal protections, rights and obligations. LGBT marriage operates in the same way as heterosexual marriage in a handful of states. However they still do not have the same rights at the federal level that heterosexuals do and this has resulted in misery and even loss of property for some bereaved gay and lesbian partners who cannot afford to pay post-humus taxes.

There are states that allow same sex couples to be married but they have to file their federal income taxes separately because the Defense of Marriage Act prevents gay or lesbian marriages from being recognized by the Federal Government. This means that when the taxes are filed, only one partner can claim the tax deduction or the mortgage even though there is, in reality, two people contributing to the overall cost of the mortgage.

The entire challenge to DOMA in the first place is based on the case of an 83 year old New York woman who was forced to pay $363,000.00 in real estate taxes after her same sex partner died because the government refused to recognize that she was married.  These same taxes would not have applied if she had been married to a man.

The upshot is that married gays and lesbians have the same status as unmarried people ~ Two unmarried people who share a joint mortgage can split the mortgage in two and both partners can then claim the deduction. However keep in mind that the amount to be claimed must be higher than the standard deduction in order to be worth it. The clear advantage to filing as a married couple is that the joint contribution to the mortgage raises the deduction a lot higher. If a gay couple is not allowed to file jointly then that can be considered to be discrimination as the straight couple who lives just next door is allowed to file jointly and reap the financial rewards.

So at this point in time it does not really matter if you move to a state that allows gay marriage or not.  As long as DOMA is not overturned and same sex marriages are not recognized this discrimination against same-sex couples that own joint real-estate will continue to exist.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast. FREE Buyers Representation ~ Free Relocation Kit to any City, USA ~ Free Sellers Market Analysis for home sellers.

Gay Marriage, Real Estate and the Law

Same-sex couples often jump through legal hoops when dealing with their joint  finances — and owning real estate is no exception. If the Supreme Court strikes  down the law that defines marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman,  some, but not all, of these obstacles may be removed.

Gay CoupleWhen it comes to owning a house together, gay married couples can expect to  see a few changes if the Supreme Court rules that a part of the Defense of  Marriage Act, or DOMA, is unconstitutional. Those changes will affect the  mortgage interest tax deduction and Veterans Affairs home loans.

A Supreme Court ruling could have a harder-to-define effect in the 50 states  and District of Columbia. Each jurisdiction has its own laws regarding the  treatment of same-sex couples, as well as its own laws governing ownership of  real estate.

This article first describes what could happen federally with the mortgage  interest tax deduction and VA loans. Then, a clickable map summarizes how  same-sex homeownership is governed in the states.

Same-sex marriage and the mortgage tax deduction

Married gay couples who have a mortgage together will be able to claim the  mortgage tax deduction jointly if DOMA is struck down. That’s because without  DOMA’s federal definition of marriage, they will be allowed to file federal tax  returns jointly.

Currently, same-sex couples married in states that allow gay marriage have to  file their federal income taxes separately because DOMA prevents the federal  government from recognizing their marriages.

“If the federal government doesn’t recognize your marriage and you cannot  file jointly — even if, for state purposes, you do file jointly — then one  person is usually claiming the (mortgage) tax deduction even though in reality  two people are paying for the mortgage,” says Gideon Alper, an attorney in  Orlando, Fla. “Right now, I am taking the mortgage interest deduction on my  property, and my partner is not, even though we are both contributing to the  mortgage payment.”

Two unmarried people who have a joint mortgage can split the mortgage  interest tax deduction, as co-borrowers. Say they have $5,000 in interest to  deduct. Each co-borrower could claim $2,500. But splitting the deduction and  filing separately doesn’t always make financial sense to a couple. For example,  the deduction might not be higher than the standard deduction when it is split  in two.

Same-sex marriage and Veterans Affairs loans

Currently, a service member or veteran married to a person of the same sex  who wants to get a Veterans Affairs loan can’t include his or her partner as a  spouse on the loan. According to federal rules, the definition for spouse  requires the individual to be a “person of the opposite sex.”

They could get a VA loan with a joint loan, but unless both partners are  veterans, the VA would guarantee only the portion of the loan allocable to the  veteran. For example, if the two partners apply for a joint VA loan of $200,000,  the VA guaranty would apply to $100,000. Eliminating DOMA’s definition of  marriage would be the first step to allow the same-sex spouse of a veteran to  get the same rights as opposite-sex married couples.

The change wouldn’t be automatic because in addition to DOMA, Title 38 —  which governs VA benefits — also restricts the definition of spouse to  opposite-sex couples. But if DOMA is ruled unconstitutional, Title 38 would  likely go the same way, says Caren Short, an attorney at Southern Poverty Law  Center. She is co-counsel on a federal case challenging both DOMA and Title  38.

“Challenges to Title 38 exist, and they already are in a position to be  decided as soon as the Supreme Court decides on DOMA,” she says. “Courts that  have been waiting for that decision will also find Title 38  unconstitutional.”

Many real estate rules, including title laws, are governed by states, so  rules for same-sex couples who own property together vary by state.

The DOMA case before the Supreme Court focuses on whether the federal  government has the right to define marriage as the union between a man and a  woman. It will ultimately determine whether “the existing marriages of same-sex  couples will be recognized and respected for federal program purposes,” says  James Esseks, director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and AIDS Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The case challenges only Section 3 of DOMA. Another part of the law, Section  2, says that states don’t have to recognize marriages of same-sex couples even  if they are legally married in another state. That section is not the issue  being considered by the court. Unless the court’s opinion says states must  recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states — which is unlikely —  little will change in states that don’t allow gay marriages.

States and districts where same-sex marriage is legal:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware (as of July 1, 2013)
  • District of Columbia
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota (as of Aug. 1, 2013)
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Rhode Island (as of Aug. 1, 2013)
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Marriage is a legal status that provides the spouses a variety of reciprocal  obligations, rights and protections. Heterosexual marriages in each state are  recognized by all other states, as well as by the federal government.

These states already treat same-sex married homeowners with equal rights.  Married couples can take title to the house as spouses regardless of sex or  sexual orientation. The overturning of DOMA would give same-sex couples in these  states additional rights on a federal level, including claiming the mortgage tax  deduction as a couple filing federal taxes jointly.

States where civil unions are recognized:

  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • Delaware (until July 1, 2013)
  • Rhode Island (until Aug. 1, 2013)

A civil union is a legal status that provides legal protection to same-sex  couples in the applicable states only. Civil unions typically are not recognized  outside the couples’ state of legal residency.

In these states, same-sex couples can own a home with similar rights to  married couples. As partners in a civil union, they can hold title through  tenancy by the entirety, which is a right that used to be available only to  “husband and wife.”

With tenancy by entirety, the parties own an undivided part of the property,  which means a spouse can’t sell his or her interest in the property without the  other spouse’s signature. Another benefit to this method is that, when one  spouse dies, the property automatically reverts to the survivor without going  through probate. Tenancy by entirety also protects spouses from creditors  because a creditor is not allowed to take away the home to satisfy the debt of  one spouse.

Colorado does not have tenancy by entirety. Instead, the state has marital  property rules, meaning that any property acquired by a spouse during the  marriage belongs to both parties. Partners in a civil union in Colorado have  these marital property rights.

Still, couples in these states could remain at a disadvantage with regards to  the mortgage tax deduction and other federal benefits. That’s because even if  the federal government recognizes gay marriage, it remains unclear whether civil  unions would be treated as marriages on a federal level.

States that recognize domestic partnerships:

  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Wisconsin

A domestic partnership is a state-sanctioned legal status that allows  unmarried couples, heterosexual and same-sex, to formalize their relationships  and which extends some state rights to those couples.

These states allow domestic partnerships, but not all grant the same spousal  rights to domestic partners when it comes to owning real estate as a couple. In  Nevada and Oregon, partners in a domestic partnership have the same title rights as married couples.

In Wisconsin, partners can inherit property without a will. As long as the  deed lists them as domestic partners, the property can be transferred  automatically if one partner dies. But when partners separate, they don’t have  the same marital benefits for the division of property.

Washington is a special case: As of 2014, the state will allow domestic  partnerships only to couples who are 62 years of age of older. Domestic partners  don’t have any of the community property rights that married couples have.

State that recognizes domestic partnerships, complicated by Proposition  8:

  • California

A domestic partnership is a state-sanctioned legal status that allows  unmarried couples, heterosexual and same-sex, to formalize their relationships  and which extends some state rights to those couples.

The most populous state allows domestic partnerships. In May 2008, the  California Supreme Court legalized gay marriages. Five months later, voters  approved Proposition 8, which bans the marriage of same-sex couples. That law  has been challenged and is under review by the Supreme Court, separately from  the DOMA challenge.

California has community property laws, which is the presumption that  property acquired during marriage belongs to both spouses. Registered domestic  partners in California have the same community property rights as married  couples. During the period gay marriage was legal in California, about 18,000  couples got married. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the  constitutionality of Proposition 8 by July. If ruled unconstitutional, same-sex  marriage would resume in California — and, potentially, similar bans in other  states could be affected, as well.

There’s a series of potential outcomes for the Proposition 8 case, says James  Esseks, director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and AIDS Project of the  American Civil Liberties Union.

“One of them is, gay couples get to get married in California, but it does  not affect any other state,” he says. “There is another version that could say  every state in the country has to allow same-sex couples to marry. People are  not superoptimistic that that is going to happen, but it could happen. Then that  would change this issue about whether (same-sex) people can get married at  all.”

States that do not allow same-sex marriage, civil unions or domestic  partnerships:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Same-sex couples in these states don’t have the benefits and protections that  married couples get. They are not allowed to hold title with tenancy by entirety  in states where this right is available to opposite-sex couples. With tenancy by entirety, the parties own an undivided part of the property, so a spouse can’t  sell his or her interest on the property without permission from the other. When  one spouse dies, the property automatically reverts to the survivor without having to go through probate. Tenancy by entirety also protects spouses from  creditors as creditors are not allowed to foreclose on the home to satisfy the  debt of one of the spouses.

In states with community property laws — which say that property acquired  after the marriage belongs to both spouses regardless of who paid for it — the  rights are reserved solely for opposite-sex couples.

Generally, same-sex couples in these states own property as tenants in common  or as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. These methods are often used by  business partners or relatives who own property together. While they grant the  homeowners similar rights of joint ownership, they don’t offer the full  protection that married couples get. The rules in these states won’t change with  the DOMA ruling, unless the court requires states to recognize same-sex  marriages performed in other states.

 

Gay Neighborhoods ~ A Safe Haven From Fear and Discrimination

As President Obama designates June as National LGBT Pride Month, it is easy to see how the times have changed in just a few decades and how the discrimination of many is slowly changing for the better. For all of us, pride shouldn’t fall solely into a celebratory three or four-day weekend, let alone a designated month; rather, our pride should be celebrated daily and embraced as a part of our being.

This week, it is fitting that our celebrations will echo throughout some of the District’s most historic neighborhoods. Places like Dupont, Logan, U Street, and Shaw will erupt in the celebration of LGBT Pride. It is within some of these neighborhoods that the LGBT community of D.C. has called home.

This weekend, more than any other, it is important to recognize the significance of a neighborhood or place in shaping our lives. For gays, a neighborhood can translate to a safe haven from fear and discrimination. Our example here in D.C. isn’t the only one; hence, look at places like Boy’s Town in Chicago or Chelsea in New York City. These communities, and many more, have provided members of our community an escape to a place where our lives could be better understood, and we could truly be ourselves. The idea of place not only shapes where we come from, but also who we are.

Every community takes pride in its past, and our community has been shaped in many ways as a transition from impoverished places to vibrant, diverse communities that are leading the way in art and culture. You see, our communities are constructed with the aspiration that we can all achieve for the better if we come together and build on ideas that are beyond just ourselves. Like any other group of individuals, we all seek a safe, secure place to call home that we can interact in and shape for the better.

Each of us defines pride in unique ways. For some of us in our community, we express pride through our property. Homeownership gives us pride in celebrating our vibrant communities and acts as a medium to embrace the people we are. As home prices have steadily increased due to the influence of gay gentrification over several decades, we have vastly improved the standard of living and the beauty of the communities that many of us call home. Even now as the heart of the gay community in D.C. continues to move from its origins in Dupont Circle, we can take pride in rehabilitating a community for the better and continuing to do so in communities across the District.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Dupont is located in the heart of Dupont Circle at 1606 17th St., N.W., at Q Street. As a member of one of the great communities that the LGBT movement has built up, Coldwell Banker is honored to provide many of us with one of our proudest possessions; that is, our property that we call home.

As we celebrate Pride this weekend, let us remember that our pride is not limited to weekend celebrations, lavish parties or even the most fabulous parade float; rather, our pride is celebrated every day without hesitation through our community, actions and love.

Here’s to pride; here’s to us.

By KEVIN McDUFFIE & TIM SAVOY

Gay-friendly retirement projects being built across the country

The first of the 77 million baby boomers reached retirement age last year, in what’s being called the gray tsunami. According to Serena Worthington of the nonprofit Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), there are currently between 1.75 million and 4 million gays and lesbians over age 65. By 2030 their number is expected to nearly double.

Just as there are niche “affinity” communities popping up to serve tai chi enthusiasts, Catholics, and even Harvard grads, an increasing number of options now exist for LGBT seniors. Birds of a Feather Resort Community in Pecos, N.M., founded in 2004, announced plans to double in size, from 8 to 16 units, this year.

In Los Angeles, management at Triangle Square, a 104-unit low-income facility with a nearly decade-long waiting list, recently broke ground on a second site, a $17.5 million project with 40 units, set to open in 2014. Similar gay-friendly retirement projects are under way in cities across the country “Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, and Minneapolis” joining Rose Villa and Rainbow Vista, both in Portland, Ore.; Carefree Cove, near Boone, N.C.; and The Resort on Carefree Boulevard in Fort Myers, Fla.

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By Mickey Rapkin ~ BusinessWeek.com