April is Fair Housing Month, a time to celebrate the strides made in fair housing over the years and recommit to the goal of ensuring everyone has equal access to housing.
What is Fair Housing Month, and why is it important?
Fair Housing Month is observed annually to commemorate the passage of the Fair Housing Act, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11, 1968.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enforces the Fair Housing Act and investigates complaints of housing discrimination.
Fair Housing Month serves as a reminder that everyone has the right to access safe, decent, and affordable housing regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or any other protected characteristic, and that it is the responsibility of real estate professionals to ensure that this right is upheld.
As REALTORS, we play a crucial role in promoting fair housing practices in the community. These are some examples of how REALTORS promote Fair Housing Month:
Educate themselves and their clients: REALTORS can attend training sessions, seminars, and webinars on fair housing laws to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the industry. They can also educate their clients about fair housing laws and their rights as homebuyers and renters.
Use inclusive language in their marketing: REALTORS can use inclusive language in their marketing materials to ensure they’re not inadvertently discriminating against any group. For example, they can avoid using words like “young couple” or “elderly” that could be seen as discriminatory.
Display the Fair Housing logo: REALTORS can display the Fair Housing logo on their websites, marketing materials, and office to show their commitment to fair housing practices.
Participate in community events: REALTORS can participate in local community events that promote fair housing and educate the public on fair housing laws.
Support fair housing organizations: REALTORS can donate to fair housing organizations or volunteer their time to support their mission of promoting fair housing practices.
Advocate for fair housing policies: REALTORS can advocate for fair housing policies at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure that everyone has equal access to housing.
There are a few important points for the general public to be aware of as well:
The Fair Housing Act requires any property owner or organization to make reasonable accommodations for any disability.
Equal access is to be provided by all properties when working with REALTORS, regardless of background.
Be mindful of language and advertising that suggests a preference to ward certain groups – this is against the law!
Report discrimination. If you encounter discrimination in the real estate industry, make sure to report it. The National Fair Housing Alliance has a hotline where you can report discrimination, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also accepts complaints.
Everyone has a role to play when it comes to fair housing. By staying informed, working with REALTORS, and providing education we can all work together to make fair housing a reality for everyone.