Every April, REALTORS® commemorate the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and reflect on housing discrimination and segregation, past and present. As community leaders, real estate professionals have an opportunity to be a part of equitable and inclusive change. Fair Housing Month signifies a recommitment to advancing equitable opportunities and expanding homeownership.

History of Fair Housing

On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which was meant as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 1968 Act expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap and family status.

Why is Fair Housing Important for REALTORS®?

  • The Fair Housing Act generally prohibits five different types of discrimination in the sale and rental of housing:
  • To refuse to sell or rent, or to otherwise make unavailable, a dwelling because of a person’s membership in a protected class.
  • Discrimination in the terms, conditions, or privileges of a sale or rental of housing, or in the provision of services in connection with same.
  • Use of advertising that expresses a preference for or against certain persons because of their membership in a particular protected class.
  • Representations that a dwelling is not available for sale or rent, when in fact the dwelling is available.
  • Attempts to induce a person to sell or rent a dwelling by referring to the prospective entry of persons of a particular race, color, sex, religion, national origin, handicap, or familial status.

In addition to prohibiting specific practices involving the sale or rental of dwellings, the Fair Housing Act also prohibits redlining, including discrimination in financing and insuring of housing, as well as discrimination in access to other services, organizations, or facilities that relate to the business of selling or renting dwellings.

Addressing the Issues

HAR’s Governmental Affairs and Advocacy team works closely with elected officials and policy makers at the local, state, and federal level to ensure we are at the forefront of all issues impacting fair housing. Additionally, we collaborate with Texas REALTORS® and NAR, and organizations like the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) and the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) to strengthen our outreach efforts and provide resources for both members and consumers.

HAR’s Professional Development Department offers webinars that provide information on fair housing rules and programs that can assist homebuyers who may have barriers to home-ownership. In November 2020, NAR launched Fairhaven,  a fair housing simulation training for REALTORS® that uses the power of storytelling to help members identify, prevent, and address discriminatory practices in real estate.