Fair housing denotes the right to select housing without unlawful discrimination. Therefore, state, local, and federal housing laws protect people against discrimination in transactions, for instance, rentals, lending, sales, and insurance.
It guarantees you the right to select the housing that suits your needs regardless of your race, age, or religion. The creation of the Fair Housing Act occurred with the aim of advising lenders, renters, buyers, and landlords on the housing practices that could come across as discriminatory. Here’s what you should know about fair housing.
Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act is a decree that emerged to end discriminatory practices in any housing-related activities. Its creation occurred with the conviction that everybody has the right to purchase a home, rent, or secure a mortgage without fear of discrimination because of their association in a particular class of people.
The seven classes under which this law offers protection are color, family status, disability, religion, race, national origin, and gender.
The 3-Part Fair Housing Goal
This decree has a 3-part objective:
1. Home Selling and Renting
Discrimination here involves:
- Declining to sell or negotiate housing
- Denying housing
- Establishing different conditions or terms in home renting or selling
- Offering different housing amenities or accommodations
2. In Mortgage Lending
Discrimination here comprises
- Setting different conditions or terms of the loan, for instance, fees or interest rates
- Declining to provide information on the loan available
- Setting different prerequisites for loan purchase
3. It’s illegal to
- Interfere with or threaten anybody’s fair housing rights
- Make discriminatory declarations or advertising property specifying a preference for somebody with a particular background or barring a protected class.
Discrimination allegation may or may not occur because of overtly spiteful actions. Allegations can arise due to a lack of communication and accusations can emerge when a landlord or the representative is accidentally insensitive to a renter or potential resident.
Recognizing the requirements of this Act and ensuring clear and constant communication with all renters and prospective renters can prevent possible discrimination allegations. Therefore, it’s imperative you familiarize yourself with the Act and know your rights as a renter.
This way, you’ll know whether you’re receiving fair treatment. If you’re a manager, property owner, or staff member, sensitivity and knowledge can prevent you from stumbling into a circumstance where a renter or prospective renter feels that he or she is obtaining unfair treatment.
Enforcement of the Fair Housing Act
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is responsible for enforcing this Act in these two ways:
- Housing Testers
It hires people to pose as home buyers or renters to establish whether discriminatory practices are taking place. As a property owner, you must be careful about what you say on the phone, in person, or in rental advertisements
- Investigate Claims
Persons who feel that a violation of rights has occurred can file a claim with HUD, which will investigate it and establish whether any merit exists. Furthermore, it will decide whether it requires additional legal action.
Tips to Avoid Accusations of Discrimination
It’s important you follow the terms of the Act though you can exclude renters on other criteria. For instance, you can deny a renter legally based on the inability to meet rental payments, poor credit, or other information you discover when running a credit check
You must maintain consistency in tenant screening by having similar qualifying standards for every renter and going through similar practices for every potential renter who applies to your rental.
You have a right to fair treatment when applying for housing, which is what led to the initiation of the Fair Housing Act. Whether you’re a renter or landlord, you must familiarize yourself with this Act to avoid being a victim of discrimination or facing charges based on discriminatory practices. If you’re unfamiliar with this Act, this guide will help you.
For more information on fair housing, contact us at Apartment Agents or leave a comment.