The Real Estate Encyclopedia
Fair Housing Laws
Category - Real Estate Glossary - Real Estate Terminology

Federal, state, and local laws which forbid discrimination because of race, sex, color, religion, or national origin, in the selling or renting of homes or apartments, and in other specified transactions.

The most often referred to laws are Title VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866. These laws have recently been expanded to include familial status (having children) and disabilities (Americans with Disabilities Act).

The fair housing law provides protection against the following acts of discrimination:

  • Refusing to sell or rent to, deal or negotiate with any person
  • Misrepresenting terms or conditions for buying or renting housing
  • Advertising that housing is available only to person of a certain race, color, sex, familial status, handicap, religion or national origin
  • Denying that housing is available for inspection, sale or rent when it really is available
  • Blockbusting, a practice whereby a broker hopes to profit through persuading owners to sell or rent housing by telling them that minority groups are moving into the neighborhood
  • Denying or requiring different terms or conditions for home loans made by commercial lenders such as banks, savings and loan associations and insurance companies

The fair housing Act applies to the following:

  • Single-family housing owned by private individuals when a broker or other person in the business of selling or renting dwellings is employed
  • Single family housing not owned by private individuals, such as those owned by developers
  • Single-family housing owned by a private individual who owns more than three such dwellings or who, in any two-year period, sells more than one dwelling in which he or she was not the most recent resident
  • Multifamily dwellings of five or more units
  • Multifamily dwellings containing four or fewer units, if the owner does not reside in one of the units






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