Consumers need to be aware of the Fair housing laws governing the buying and selling of real estate. The Fair Housing Act, Title V111 of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 covers Fair Housing and provides laws and guidelines for the selling of real estate. Real estate agents as well as homeowners are prohibited from discriminating against protected classes. Many home sellers are unaware of this Act and homeowners, especially For Sale By Owner sellers have been fined for breaking the law. Both real estate agents and homeowners face stiff penalties if found guilty of discrimination. Lack of knowledge is not protection so it’s incumbent on homeowners who choose to sell their house on their own to arm themselves with a thorough understanding of Fair Housing laws. Failure to adhere to the laws can result in homeowners being sued for punitive damages, monetary damages and payment of attorney fees. Property owners who utilize the services of a real estate agent must realize that instructions to act in a discriminatory manner cannot legally be fulfilled by the real estate professional.
For the Home Seller: A home seller or landlord cannot discriminate in the sale or rental of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. Illegal instructions to a real estate professional cannot be executed. A licensed real estate sales person is bound by the law and as such cannot fulfill any discriminatory instructions that will place limitations on the sale or rental of a property. This includes denying that the property is available or advertising, overtly or covertly that the property is available only to persons of a certain race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. In addition, there are numerous other seemingly innocent words and catch phrases that are perceived to be discriminatory in their effect.
For the Home Buyer: Buyers have the right to expect that housing will be available 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 discrimination
• Equal professional service
• The opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices within your means
• 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.
Fair housing benefits everyone. It strengthens individuals, families and our communities. Fair housing is the law. Discrimination and discriminatory practices are illegal. It is important that you understand the law and ramifications when buying, selling or renting a property.