How is Handicap defined under Fair Housing?

“Handicap” means, with respect to a person, a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.  This term does not include current, illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance.  For purposes of this part, an individual shall not be considered to have a handicap solely because that individual is a transvestite.

“Physical or mental impairment” includes:

  1. Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems:  Neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or
  2. Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.  The term “physical or mental impairment” includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection, mental retardation, emotional illness, drug addiction (other than addiction caused by current, illegal use of a controlled substance) and alcoholism.

“Major life activities” means functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.

“Has a record of such an impairment” means has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

“Is regarded as having an impairment” means:

  1. Has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit one or more major life activities but that is treated by another person as constituting such a limitation;
  2. Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of other toward such impairment; or
  3. Has none of the impairments defined in paragraph (a) of this definition but is treated by another person as having such an impairment.

(24 CFR §100.201)

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