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The Importance of Understanding the Fair Housing Act



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By : Alvin Smith    99 or more times read
The Fair Housing Act was created with the intention of improving the housing opportunities and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin in all housing transaction including rentals or financing. This protection is extended to home seekers with disability and families with children. Because the government has no other way of monitoring discrimination as it happens, it is important to understand this legislation and how to make it work for you.

Discriminatory advertising is a practice that is not allowed by the fair housing law. The law specifies that it outlaws making, printing, or publishing advertisement about sale or rental of a property that points to unfairness based on race, color, religion/creed, national origin or a course of action that intends to make any preference limitation. This means it is unlawful for home providers make advertisement that they prefer to rent to selected occupants or make a sign that suggests selected kind of renter is preferred. Religious groups and private organizations that arrange lodging to their members and not rent it are not covered by the act. A rental property that has four apartments or less may get exemptions provided that the owner is living in one of the units.

While the licensed professionals are primarily targeted by this act, all U.S. citizens should understand the Fair Housing Act. In addition, they should put it into practice in their own real estate advertising.

Steering and blockbusting is prohibited by this law. It targets builders, brokers, rental property managers and agents doing illegal practice in property selling. Steering is an illegal practice in which minority home buyers are intentionally directed to houses or properties systematically different than those shown or recommended to comparable white home buyers. Blockbusting is the act or practice of encouraging people to sell or rent their property cheaply by claiming that there will be negative impact on property value if racial minorities live in the area.

When it comes to lending and finance, lenders must also follow the fair housing law as it clearly stated in this law that it is unlawful to discriminate against an applicant in terms of fixing loan amount, duration, interest rate or other financial services or assistance.

Housing providers can not say no to rent or sell housing, offer for inspection a home, or even say no to negotiate for housing based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. There are situations that home providers try to conceal their discrimination by providing false information about availability of housing by telling a home seeker that nothing was available when there is really an available apartment. Home seekers who receive such intentionally deceptive information or misdirection may have no idea that they have been victims of discrimination.

There are many cases of disgruntled people who have been victims of discrimination in the housing transaction. So if you think that you have been dealt with discrimination, it is important to read and understand the actual fair housing law and all state of being exempted before filing a complaint on someone of wrong doing.
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