Fair Housing is Your Right

You cannot be denied housing Montana because of:

  • race or color
  • national origin 
  • religion or creed 
  • age 
  • sex 
  • marital status 
  • familial status (children under 18 living in the household) 
  • disability (physical or mental)

  • Montana laws and federal fair housing laws cover most housing. The law exempts owner-occupied sleeping rooms in a private residence provided the owner rents no more than 3 rooms within the residence.

    The provision in the law against discrimination because of age and familial status do not extend to owner-occupied duplexes and housing for older persons.
  • In Advertising - Montana laws and federal fair housing laws prohibit anyone from printing, or publishing any advertisement or statement that indicates a limitation or preference in the area of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, sex, marital status, familial status or disability.

    Retaliation - It is illegal for anyone to retaliate against an individual who has filed a housing complaint, or participated in an investigation of a housing complaint.

    In the Sale and Rental of Housing - Housing providers may not take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, sex, marital status, familial status or disability:

    • refuse to rent or sell housing;
    • set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a housing accommodation; 
    • ask a person's race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, sex, marital status, familial status or disability; 
    • represent that housing is not available for inspection, sale or rental;
    • provide different housing services or facilities; 
    • for profit, persuade owners to sell or rent; 
    • for profit, deny buyers or renters entry into a neighborhood; 
    • print or publish notices, statements or advertisements indicating a preference; 
    • deny reasonable accommodations, at their expense, to persons with disabilities, in sales, rental and terms and conditions; 
    • it is also unlawful for anyone to aid, abet, incite, compel or coerce the doing of an act forbidden under the Montana housing law.

    In Mortgage Lending - Lenders may not take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, sex, marital status, familial status or disability:

    • refuse to make a mortgage loan;
    • fail to provide information regarding loans; 
    • impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees; 
    • discriminate in appraising property; 
    • refuse to purchase a loan; 
    • set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan.
    • Include a policy statement of non-discriminatory treatment in all rental agreements, listing agreements and buy-sell agreements;
    • Develop a non-discrimination policy that provides a grievance procedure and clearly states if discrimination is found, appropriate corrective action will be taken;
    • Provide fair housing policies to potential renters, buyers and sellers; 
    • Display a fair housing poster; 
    • Include an equal housing opportunity logotype or slogan in all advertising and exterior signs; 
    • Attend a fair housing training sponsored by a fair housing group or the Human Rights Bureau.
    • Report incidents of discrimination to the salesperson or manager;
    • If complaints are not resolved, report the discrimination to the broker or owner; 
    • Contact the Human Rights Bureau
  • Effective October 1, 1997, housing for older persons is exempt from familial status and age provisions in Montana fair housing law if the units:

    1. are occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older; or
    2. house at least one person who is 55 or older in 80% of the occupied units and owners publish and adhere to written policies and procedures that demonstrate the housing is intended and operated for persons 55 or older.
    1. have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
    2. have a record of such impairment; or 
    3. be regarded as having such an impairment.

    Responsibilities of Housing Providers

    • Make reasonable modifications to housing units, at the expense of the renter, to enable the renter with a disability to use the housing. (Where reasonable, the housing provider may permit changes only if the property can be restored to its original condition when the renter moves);
    • Make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies or services to allow persons with disabilities equal opportunity to use and enjoy the housing unit and property.

    Responsibilities of Renters and Buyers

    • Make requests for accommodations to owners and managers and verify their needs.
  • Covered multi-family housing having four or more units, if the building has an elevator, and ground floor units in a building having four or more dwelling units must have:

    • An accessible building entrance on an accessible route;
    • Accessible and usable public and common use areas; 
    • Doors and hallways wide enough for wheelchairs; 
    • Accessible route into and through the units; 
    • Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations; 
    • Reinforced walls for grab bars, and; 
    • Space in kitchens and bathrooms in which a person in a wheelchair can maneuver.
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