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What is the Fair Housing Act and who does it protect?

Everyone is supposed to have an equal opportunity to have a place to reside and not face any sort of discrimination. Persons are supposed to be treated equally when it comes to renting or buying their homes, which is why the Fair Housing Act exists. No person or family should face discrimination because of race, disability, having kids, religion, etc. In this article, we will be discussing the Fair Housing Act

How does the Fair Housing Act protect people?

No one is supposed to face discrimination when renting or buying a property. There are seven federal protected classes rental property or real estate owners cannot discriminate. They are:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Familiar status
  • Disabilities

For example, person A despises Christians and has property for sale. Person B, a Christian, approaches person A to buy the property, but since person B is a Christian, he wouldn’t sell the property even if he is qualified. Within this example, discriminating against someone because of their religion is illegal under the Fair Housing Act. 

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is responsible for these regulations that forbid discrimination and other federal issues related to tenants. Furthermore, the Fair Housing Act goes further than the tenant’s screening and leasing process. It also deals with the advertising process. It’s illegal to prevent a landlord or marketing manager from marketing a property to any group of individuals in the protected class. The landlord or property manager can’t use any form of language within their rental vacancy ads related to persons in this protected class. 

how the Fair Housing Act protects people

The History of the Fair Housing Act

Let’s just begin by saying that the right to own private property was addressed under the fifth amendment, but these rights were held against slaves, women, and Native Americans throughout the end of the civil war. With abolishing slavery in 1865, Congress passed the first fair housing legislation containing the civil rights act of 1866, which granted all US citizens, including minorities, the right to purchase, lease, sell, hold and convey real or personal property. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act in 1968.  

Within a few weeks of April 1968, many Americans attained equal rights, equal opportunity for housing, jobs, etc. Martin Luther King was also assassinated that same month, and it came as a terrible shock to everyone because he was one of the nation’s most vital voices when it came to equal rights. However, after Martin Luther King’s assassination, President Lyndon B Johnson and congress made the civil rights act of 1968 or the Fair Housing Act the land law. Following the passing of this law, organized real estate organizations statewide did some introspection on the law and after partnered with HUD since then. 

history of the fair housing act.

Why was it created in 1968?

The passage of the Fair housing act in 1968 simply stands for a diverse community where doors are opened to everyone despite race, disability, gender, etc. This legislation offers housing equality for all, and no one should not face any discrimination for housing. Despite the nation’s earlier years, it has been very controversial regarding access to housing and equal rights, but this was addressed later on where everyone in the protected class could have access to housing.  

Why was the fair housing act created

Who is be protected by the Fair Housing Act?

There are various protected classes under the fair housing act where it is illegal to deny someone the right to housing. The protected class includes:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familiar status
  • Disability

This prohibition applies to anyone involved in the sale of residential property like lending institutions, property owners, real estate agents, insurance companies, real estate appraisers, and brokers. 

Who can be protected by this act

Related Article: Three Legal Risks of Rent-to-Buy Real Estate

What are some examples of discrimination that would violate this law?

The United States has come a long way from a historical perspective that dealt with civil liberties and discrimination practices. There are many examples of discriminatory practices that would violate the fair housing act but let’s just look at a few of them. They include:

  • Advertising the sale of a property to a particular class of individuals like this is only for Catholics and not Jews. 
  • A specific building owner provides separate accommodations in the apartment complex to individuals based on race, sex, etc. 
  • The termination of a rental agreement because the tenant may have a different sexual orientation. 
  • The harassment of tenants just because of their skin color. 
  • Due to disability issues, an individual is provided with inferior housing terms. 
  • Deny housing to someone because of their nationality.
  • The house is available for sale, but because of someone’s race or sex, the realtor denies them to see the house. 
  • The refusal to negotiate for the sale of a property because of an individual’s disability. 

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