The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was one of the first large steps to prevent discrimination in the real estate market. Apart of being a great realtor is that you practice fair housing laws and that mean no discrimination against any person based on their race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin. The Federal Housing Act covers almost all housing types except the Act exempts single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent, owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, private clubs that limit occupancy to members and housing operated by religious organizations.There are many things that can count as discrimination such as; offering information to a client singling out a protected class in an area, falsely deny that housing is available for sale or rental, special terms and conditions based off their race, color, and all the protected classes. Even today discrimination is still alive and many complaints can be found on racial discrimation and steering. Steering is the act of influencing a client's decision based on their race, religion or another protected class. You can even steer clients away from an area by giving them information that represents something about a protected class which you might assume your client may not know about or be comfortable with. Discrimination is not always intentional but if you single out one protected class then you are most likely not practicing the fair housing laws.
Not only does the Fair Housing Act prevent discrimation against race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin, it also prevents discrimitaion against those with disabilities in all type of housing transactions. A person with a disability is anyone who has a mental or physical impairment that does not allow them to complete all regular functions on their own daily. These daily activities can include walking, breathing, seeing, performing a manual task and more. If you have been recorded to have a disability you are protected in this act. A mental or physical impairment may include hearing impairment, HIV infection, mental retardation, alcoholism,mental illness, blindness, learning disability, head injury, mobility impairment, and drug addiction. This law also protects those with disabilities at work, restaurants, new homes and more. If you have a client with a disability renting your property you have to make sure it has certain accommodations for that person if needed. You also can not deny a person with permits based on their disabilities. If you knowingly discriminate against any protected class you can be fined and even lose your license so be careful and continue to keep yourself educated!
Staying educated is the easiest way to prevent discrimination. As you continue to keep yourself educated it is important to practice Accountability, Cultural Change and Training. REALTORS are doing a lot to train others on discrimination and staying aware of your actions because its so important. You can take classes, take part in online simulations and more. It is crucial to understand all of the laws that fall under the Fair Housing Act.