April is Fair Housing Month. During this month, we highlight and emphasize the things that should be done all year long when it comes to buying or selling real property. Buying or selling a home is more than just a simple home purchase – it involves the American Dream. It includes so much more than a house – it’s a home – and that means hopes and dreams. We should not discriminate when it comes to buying or selling a home. Here are some things you may not know about Fair Housing.
There are laws that protect Fair Housing
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibits all racial discrimination in the sale or rental of property.
The Fair Housing Act makes illegal any discrimination in the sale, lease or rental of housing, or making housing otherwise unavailable, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in places of public accommodations and commercial facilities.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act makes discrimination unlawful with respect to any aspect of a credit application on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age or because all or part of the applicant’s income derives from any public assistance program.
On top of that – there may be state and local laws that pertain to your specific location. The laws above are all federal laws that all home buyers, sellers, and real estate agents need to abide by.
If you are buying or selling a home – you (and your agent) have responsibilities under those laws
Home Sellers/Landlords are required under the law not to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. You cannot instruct the licensed broker or salesperson acting as your agent to convey for you any limitations in the sale or rental because the real estate professional is also bound by law not to discriminate.
Home Buyers have the right to expect that housing will be available to you without discrimination or other limitations based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
Home Buyers have the right to:
Housing (in your price range) made available to you without discrimination
Equal professional service
The opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices
No discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing
No discrimination in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing
Reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities
Non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling
To be free from harassment or intimidation for exercising your fair housing rights.
Real Estate Agents are prohibited by law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. A request from the home seller or landlord to act in a discriminatory manner in the sale, lease or rental cannot legally be fulfilled by the real estate agent.
What should you do if you suspect you have been discriminated against?
Call your local Board of REALTORS®. They accept complaints alleging violations of the Code of Ethics filed by a home seeker who alleges discriminatory treatment in the availability, purchase or rental of housing. If you cannot locate your local Board of REALTORS or Association of REALTORS the you can call the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You can find them online at http://www.hud.gov.