The Fair Housing Act: Things You Must Know as a Real Estate Professional

The Fair Housing Act: Things You Must Know as a Real Estate Professional

Everyone who wants to buy or to rent housing should have the right to do so. Moreover, as a real estate professional, you want to ensure that you treat your clients fairly. Indeed, the federal Fair Housing Act identifies the protected classes and specific acts of discrimination.

What Is the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was created to end discrimination in housing activities. It includes the following:

  • Civil Rights Act of 1866
  • Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968
  • Housing and Community Development Act of 1974
  • Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988

The Act protects the following classes:

  • Age
  • Color
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Marital status
  • Physical or mental disability
  • National origin
  • Sexual orientation (included in many states)
  • Family status (pregnant women and persons with children under 18)

Which Real Estate Practices Does the Act Prohibit?

The Act lists practices under the following headings:

  • Home Renting and Selling
  • Mortgage Lending
  • Other Activities

Even more, examples of real estate practices are:

  • Refusing to rent, sell, or negotiate housing
  • Changing the terms and conditions in selling or renting
  • Including discriminatory preferences in advertising
  • Giving false information about the availability of housing
  • Changing terms or conditions on home loans
  • Refusing to provide information about loans

What If a Real Estate Professional Unintentionally Discriminates Against Someone? 

It does not matter if you were not aware of an act of discrimination. This is because the United States Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling states that all acts of discrimination are illegal. So, it is in your best interest, as a real estate professional, to know the Fair Housing Act.

Do Any Other Fair Housing Laws Exist?

There is a 1968 Jones v. Mayer court case concerning an African American who believed that he was refused a home because of his color. Then, after hearing both sides, the Supreme Court ruled in Jones’ favor. The Supreme Court decision now covers the following characteristics, based on race:

  • Ethnic
  • Ancestral
  • Linguistic
  • Cultural
  • Physical

Above all, as a real estate professional, make sure that you know the Fair Housing Act. Thus, take time to understand it. Furthermore, adhere to its guidelines. Above all, be consistent with your practices and treat all clients with the same respect.