Exemptions to Fair Housing Laws

There are a few kinds of properties that are exempt from state and federal fair housing laws. Housing units that fall into any of the following categories could be exempt. Because there are some nuances regarding properties that are exempt from fair housing laws, if you think that a property may be exempt you may want to consult an attorney or a staff member at the Human Rights Commission about the specific property.

Housing for seniors: If a complex is intended for and solely occupied by persons 62 years or older, OR if a complex is intended for and operated for occupancy by at least one person who is 55 years old per unit and at least 80 % of the units are occupied by people who are 55 years or older.
 
Small properties: Under Vermont law, if a housing complex has three or fewer units AND the owner or a member of her/his immediate family resides in one of the units, it is exempt from Vermont’s fair housing law. Under federal law, if a housing complex is four units or less AND is owner-occupied, it is exempt from the federal fair housing law except for the prohibition regarding discriminatory advertising and statements (in other words, while the property itself may be exempt, the owner still cannot express preferences or exclusions in advertising for that property). It is possible for a property to be exempt under either state or federal law. 
 
Religious organizations: If a housing complex is owned and operated by a religious organization for religious purposes, it may be exempt from Vermont’s fair housing laws.