WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT EQUAL
OPPORTUNITY IN HOUSING
The sale and purchase of a home is one of the most significant events that
an individual will experience in their lifetime. It is more than the simple
purchase of housing, for it directly impacts the hopes, dreams, aspirations,
and economic destiny of those involved. It is for this reason that the
Fair Housing Act and other federal and state laws were enacted to guarantee
a right to a national housing market free from discrimination based on
race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, and national origin.
Civil Rights Act of 1866
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibits all racial discrimination in the
sale or rental of property.
Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act declares a national policy of fair housing throughout
the United States. The law 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
Americans with Disabilities Act
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination
against persons with disabilities in places of public accommodations and
Equal Credit Opportunity Act
The 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.
State and Local Laws
State and local laws often provide broader coverage and prohibit discrimination
based on additional classes not covered by federal law.
The home seller, the home seeker, and the real estate professional all
have rights and responsibilities under the law.
For the Home Seller
As a home seller or landlord you have a responsibility and a requirement
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. Under the law, a home seller or landlord cannot
establish discriminatory terms or conditions in the purchase or rental;
deny that housing is available, or advertise that the property is available
only to persons of a certain race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial
status, or national origin.
For the Home Seeker
You 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.
This includes the right to expect:
Housing in your price range made available to you without
Equal professional service;
The opportunity to consider a broad range of housing
No discriminatory limitations on communities or locations
No discrimination in the financing, appraising, or insuring
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; and
To be free from harassment or intimidation for exercising
your fair housing rights.
For the Real Estate Professional
Agents in a real estate transaction 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 professional.
THE REALTOR® FAIR HOUSING PROGRAM
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has developed a Fair Housing
Program to provide resources and guidance to REALTORS® in ensuring
equal professional services for all people. The term REALTOR® identifies
a licensed professional in real estate who is a member of the NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Not all licensed real estate brokers and
salespersons are members of the National Association, and only those who
are may identify themselves as REALTORS®. They conduct their business
and activities in accordance with a strict Code of Ethics.
The Code of Ethics
Article 10 of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Code of Ethics
provides that "REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services
to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial
status, or national origin. REALTORS® shall not be a party to any
plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis
of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin."
A REALTOR® pledges to conduct business in keeping with the spirit and
letter of the Code of Ethics. Article 10 imposes obligations upon REALTORS®
and is also a firm statement of support for equal opportunity in housing.
IF YOU SUSPECT DISCRIMINATION
Call the Local Board of REALTORS®
Local Boards of REALTORS® will 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. Local Boards
of REALTORS® have a responsibility to enforce the Code of Ethics through
professional standards procedures and corrective action in cases where
a violation of the Code of Ethics is proven to have occurred.
Call the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Complaints alleging discrimination in housing may be filed with the nearest
office of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD), or by calling HUD's toll free numbers, 1-800-669-9777 (voice),
or 1-800-543-8294 (TDD).
Contact HUD on the internet at http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/index.cfm