Real Estate Glossary

What is the Fair Housing Act ?

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law in the United States that prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on certain protected characteristics, such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. The law applies to most housing transactions, including single-family homes, apartments, and rental units, as well as real estate-related transactions, such as mortgage lending and insurance. Under the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal for a landlord or seller to discriminate against potential tenants or buyers on the basis of protected characteristics. This includes practices such as refusing to rent or sell to certain individuals, setting different terms or conditions for different individuals, or making discriminatory statements. The Fair Housing Act also makes it illegal for anyone to interfere with a person's exercise or enjoyment of their fair housing rights. This includes actions such as threatening, coercing, or intimidating someone from exercising their fair housing rights. The law applies to both the sale and rental of most housing, and to the advertising and financing of housing. This means that it is illegal to place discriminatory ads, steer people to or away from certain neighborhoods, or discriminate in the granting of mortgages. The Fair Housing Act is enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), state and local fair housing agencies and through private lawsuits. It's important to note that the laws may vary state by state and it's recommended to check the local regulations as well.