Fair Housing FAQ

  • What does the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity’s Fair Housing Division do?

    The GCEO’s Fair Housing Division’s goal is to eliminate housing discrimination within the state of Georgia by investigating and conciliating complaint allegations. If the dispute cannot be resolved through conciliation, the Commission will conduct an objective and timely investigation. The Commission will determine whether unlawful discrimination has occurred. The investigation could result in various forms of relief for the Complainant if there is reasonable cause to believe discrimination has occurred.

  • What should I do if I suspect that I or someone else has experienced unlawful discrimination in a housing transaction?

    You may file a complaint or notify the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity’s Fair Housing Division; however, the complaint must be filed within one year after the alleged violation occurred. The Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity will be glad to answer any questions or concerns related to housing discrimination.

    Karlene S. Stevens, J.D.

    205 Jesse Hill Jr. Dr. SE

    14th Floor-1470B East Tower

    Atlanta, Georgia 30334

  • What does the phrase familial status means?

    “Familial status” means having a child under age 18 in the household, whether living with a parent, a legal custodian, or their designee. It also covers a woman who is pregnant, and people in the process of adopting or gaining custody of a child/children.

  • If a landlord has available units, which are equipped for the handicapped, does a handicapped person have to reside within one of those units?

    No. A landlord can advise a disabled person of the availability of specially equipped units; however, the disabled person must be allowed to choose from any units available within the housing property.

  • What should a real estate agent do if he or she finds out that the seller or landlord intends to discriminate against a member of a protected category?

    The real estate agent should immediately terminate the agency relationship with the seller or landlord by informing all parties involved the reasons that the relationship is being terminated.

  • Can persons with children be denied housing on that basis?

    No. The fair housing laws protect a person who has children under the age of 18. The housing provider cannot refuse to rent to a family based on their familial status unless the housing provider meets the criteria for senior housing (55+ and 62+); however, a housing provider has the right to deny housing based on objective criteria, such as a credit history or bad tenant history.

  • Can a housing provider set limits on the number of occupants?

    Overly restrictive occupancy standards can have a disproportionate affect on families with children and are, therefore, illegal. According to HUD, any occupancy standards in housing should not be more restrictive than two individuals per bedroom, assuming average sized bedrooms.

  • Is there any type of housing exempt from these requirements?

    The only type of housing that is excluded from familial status protections is qualified housing for seniors. Those who intend to operate senior housing should get adequate information about meeting the qualifications.

  • How do I submit an open records request?

    To obtain documents from the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity’s Fair Housing Division, please direct your Open Records Act requests (under O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) by mail or email to:


    Director, Fair Housing Division Karlene S. Stevens, J.D.

    Mail to

    205 Jesse Hill Jr. Dr. SE
    14th Floor-1470B East Tower
    Atlanta, GA 30334

    To assist you in obtaining the information that you need, please provide the following information in your request:

    • Your full name
    • Your mailing address
    • Your contact telephone number (and fax number if available)
    • The case number of the investigation or incident associated with your request
    • The name of the Complainant(s), Respondent(s), and/or agents and addresses associated with your request.

    All record requests are subject to redaction under the Georgia Open Records Act and may result in the requester being billed $0.10 per page and charged administrative fees for the requested information.

  • Where are you located and what area do you serve?

    Our office is located in downtown Atlanta in Building 7 of the Agriculture Building adjacent to the State of Georgia's Capitol building. We serve the entire state of Georgia.

  • How do I translate the GCEO website?

    Please select the Translate link located on the home page of this website. Please accept the terms of the disclaimer and proceed by selecting the preferred language.