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Fair Housing Act

Apartment for Rent Sign        


What Is the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act is a law that was created to put an end to discriminatory practices involving any activities related to housing. The Act was created with the belief that every person has the right to rent a home, purchase a home, or get a mortgage on a home without being afraid of discrimination due to their membership in a certain class of people.

When Was the Fair Housing Law Created?

Attempts at fair housing in America have been around since the mid-1800's, but it was not until the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's that any real change took place. The Rumford Fair Housing Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were two of the first attempts to address discrimination. The real groundbreaking legislation, however, was the Fair Housing Act of 1968 which was established one week after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

What Classes Are Protected Under the Fair Housing Act?

The seven classes protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act are: 

  1. Color
  2. Disability
  3. Familial Status (i.e., having children under 18 in a household, including pregnant women) 
  4. National Origin
  5. Race
  6. Religion
  7. Sex
What Is the Three-Part Goal of the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act has a three-part goal: 

 1. Home Renting and Selling

To end discrimination against the protected classes in any of the following ways:

  • Refusing to rent housing, sell housing, or negotiate for housing
  • Making housing unavailable or lying about the availability of housing
  • Denying housing
  • Establishing different terms or conditions in home selling or renting
  • Providing different housing accommodations or amenities
  • Blockbusting
  • Denying participation in housing-related services such as a multiple listing service

2. Mortgage Lending

 To end discrimination against the protected classes in any of the following ways:

  • Refusing to make or purchase a mortgage loan
  • Setting different terms or conditions on the loan, such as interest rates or fees
  • Setting different requirements for purchasing a loan
  • Refusing to make information about the loan available
  • Discriminatory practices in property appraising

 3. Other Illegal Activities

To end discrimination against the protected classes in either of these ways:

  •  Make discriminatory statements or advertise your property indicating a preference for a person with a certain background or excluding a protected class. This applies to those who are otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act, such as owner-occupied four-unit homes.
  • Threaten or interfere with anyone’s fair housing rights  

For general questions about HUD or its programs contact their office in Kansas City.