What is illegal discrimination?
Landlords may not discriminate against you because of your:
- national origin
- ancestry (where you or your family came from)
- sexual orientation
- gender identity and gender expression
- living with minor children, adult dependents, being pregnant (called “familial status” in the law)
- getting public assistance (such as TANF, general assistance, SSI or Section 8)
- getting a Permanent Protection from Abuse Order
- making a complaint to the Maine Human Rights Commission, or other things that would make discriminating against you Maine Human Rights Act Retaliation under Maine law.
This means that a landlord cannot refuse to rent to you, charge you extra, or evict you for any of these reasons.
Note: The federal laws barring discrimination based on sex (federal) protects transgender, non-binary, gender nonconforming, and all other individuals based on gender identity or expression. And it prohibits discrimination based on another person’s belief or perception that you are LGBTQIA+, cisgender, or heterosexual, even if you are not. The state laws barring discrimination identify sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression as individual protected class statuses.
What can I do about it?
If you think your landlord has illegally discriminated against you, contact Pine Tree Legal or one of these offices:
Maine Human Rights Commission
51 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0051
phone: 624-6290 TTY: 1-888-577-6690
U.S. Fair Housing Office (HUD)
10 Causeway Street, Room 321
Boston, MA 02222-1092
phone: 1-617-994-8300 or toll free: 1-800-827-5005
Pine Tree Legal has more information about how a landlord must treat you fairly if you have a mental or physical impairment. You can get that information from our offices, or visit our Fair Housing for People with Disabilities page.
Read more about Fair Housing. We offer this information in several languages.
The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government."
Updated January 2024