A look at what’s prohibited under the Fair Housing Act

Fair Housing Month is recognized each April by the Association of Realtors to commemorate the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act, which established a law prohibiting discrimination in housing. Housing discrimination in the United States refers to the historical and current barriers, policies, and biases that prevent equitable access to housing. Housing discrimination became more pronounced after the abolition of slavery, typically as part of Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation. The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing related activities. The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In very limited circumstances, the act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent, and housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.

What is prohibited?

In the sale or rental of housing, it is illegal to take any of the following actions because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.

» Refuse to rent or sell housing;

» Refuse to negotiate for housing;

»Otherwise make housing unavailable;

»Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling;

» Provide a person different housing services or facilities;

» Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale or rental;

» Make, print or publish any notice, statement or advertisement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination;

» Impose different sales prices or rental charges for the sale or rental of a dwelling;

» Use different qualification criteria or applications, or sale or rental standards or procedures, such as income standards, application requirements, application fees, credit analyses, sale or rental approval procedures or other requirements;

» Evict a tenant or a tenant’s guest;

» Harass a person;

» Fail or delay performance of maintenance or repairs;

» Limit privileges, services or facilities of a dwelling;

» Discourage the purchase or rental of a dwelling;

» Assign a person to a particular building or neighborhood or section of a building or neighborhood;

» For profit, persuade, or try to persuade, homeowners to sell their homes by suggesting people of a particular protected characteristic are about to move into the neighborhood (block-busting);

» Refuse to provide or discriminate in the terms or conditions of homeowners insurance because of the race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin of the home owner and/or occupants of a dwelling;

» Deny access to or membership in any multiple listing service or real estate brokers’ organization;

Your Realtor knows about fair housing and is committed to it.