Dear Claire: Who is Protected Under the Fair Housing Act?
The Fair Housing Act: Ensuring Equality and Fighting Discrimination in Housing
Here’s a little bit of history because you all know that I’m a history buff: The Fair Housing Act was originally passed in 1968 and it followed up the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It specifically protected certain classes of people. There was an amendment to it in 1988, which expanded the law to prohibit discrimination in housing based on disability or on familial status. Meaning if you have children, you can’t be discriminated against
In total, the Fair Housing Act, and I’ve got a cheat sheet because this is hard to remember all of it, protects discrimination based on race, color, nation of origin religion, sex, familial status, source of income, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disabilities. So, what does that mean? And why do I care? First, I care because if I am in the community, I want to make sure that discrimination is not happening to anyone.
There are actually ways that it is implemented. HUD Housing and Urban Development are supposed to have people that go out and check where you most often see fair housing. The Fair Housing Act being violated is in rentals, typically. Although, there are some conversations right now, especially in the Oregon legislature, because right now, you all probably know we’re in a seller’s market and that seller’s market has resulted in buyers writing buyer letters. And they’re good-hearted obviously, but those buyers’ letters can set up a problem with your housing because people are putting pictures in there and they’re telling personal details that might sway a seller to pick one person or another and that could be very problematic.
So, back to HUD. HUD has people that they send out who go to an open house or to a rental property to fill out an application, and see how the person that is representing the seller or representing the property for rent acts and what they do. And if they show any discrimination, then the government can actually sanction them, or they have a variety of things that they can do to try and discourage this from happening. So really, mostly I want you to know that first off there are things that are in place to protect you, second off, there are things right now in the Oregon legislature that look like they might get rid of buyers’ letters because they’re so problematic. And then third, there are activities actually right now that are still happening and discrimination is still happening. And so having it enforced and having people in the community, including you, who are trying to enforce it and make sure that it’s a fairer and more just world.
Of course, this is Fair Housing Month. That is why we have this item about fair housing. Also, go check out our YouTube channel. We have more details on that over there as well. There’s all kinds of interesting things that you can do to help further our community and make it more fair. As always, I love hearing from you. If you have any questions you’d like me to address, feel free to reach out to me. I’m always here for you if you’re thinking about buying or selling. Have a wonderful week and we’ll talk to you soon. Take care.
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