Everyone has the right to practice their religion. It is illegal to discriminate in housing because of a person’s religion or religious practices.
- I won’t rent to you because you’re Muslim.
- You should dress like an American.
People discriminate based on religion when they treat others differently or have different rules for them because of their religion. People also discriminate based on religion when they say negative things about a person or their religion or religious practices.
Here are some examples of religious discrimination:
- A property manager allows residents to decorate common areas with Christmas decorations but doesn’t allow people to decorate for Diwali.
- A landlord refuses to rent to someone because they wear a head scarf, hijab, or turban.
- A bank gives a higher mortgage interest rate because the borrower is Buddhist.
- A relator only shows homes near the mosque to a Muslim home buyer.
Discrimination against people based on their religion often looks like discrimination against people based on their national origin, race, or color. Some people discriminate against others in housing for more than one unlawful reason.
- See our page on Discrimination Based on National Origin
- See our page about Discrimination Based on Race or Color
Religious Discrimination in Housing in Vermont
Here are some examples of religious discrimination that happened in Vermont:
- A Muslim woman’s landlord told her he didn’t want her following Islam in her apartment. The landlord told her, “This is America.”
- A Jewish woman’s landlord left a voicemail message on her phone. In a fake German accent, he said, “Just think of me as Hitler.”
What to Do
If you think you were discriminated against in housing, you have choices for what to do. See our Housing Discrimination: What To Do page.
Religious discrimination seriously harms the people who are discriminated against and made to feel unwelcome. But religious discrimination affects everyone. It keeps us from living in diverse, inclusive communities. It also weakens everyone’s right to religious freedom.