Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Federal and state fair housing laws were enacted to create an even playing field for home buyers in all areas of a real estate transaction. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin.
Civil Rights Act of 1966
The federal Civil Rights Act of 1966 prohibits all racial discrimination in the sale or rental of property.
Fair Housing Act
The federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 (amended in 1974 and 1989) makes fair housing a national policy throughout the U.S. It prohibits discrimination in the sale, lease or rental of housing, or making housing otherwise unavailable because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin.
Americans with Disabilities Act
Title III of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in commercial facilities and places of public accommodation.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act
The federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone on a credit application due to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age or because all or part of an applicant's income comes from any public assistance program.
Home sellers, prospective home buyers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers and loan officers all have rights and responsibilities under the law.
As a home seller or landlord, you are obligated not to discriminate in the sale, rental or financing of your property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin. You also cannot do so through your licensed broker or salesperson, who is also bound by discrimination law. In either case, you may not set any discriminatory terms or conditions in a purchase contract or a lease. You may not deny that housing is available or advertise a property's availability only to persons of a certain race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin.
For real estate professionals
Agents in a real estate transaction may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin. They also may not follow such instructions from a home seller or landlord.
Discrimination complaints about housing may be filed with the nearest office of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or by calling HUD's toll-free numbers, 1-800-669-9777 (voice) or 1-800-543-8294 (TDD). Or contact HUD on the Internet at
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