April is National Fair Housing Month, and housing advocates aim to remind Americans that all persons have equal access to housing and that fair housing is not an option but the law.
The Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, protects people from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and family status.
The National Association of Realtors and civil rights groups are currently pressing Congress to pass the Equality Act, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics under the Fair Housing Act and all other federal laws. NAR amended its Code of Ethics to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in 2011 and gender identity in 2013.
Under the NAR Realtor Code of Ethics, realtors cannot deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.
A home seller or landlord cannot discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. They cannot instruct their real estate agent to convey any limitations in the sale or rental of their property.
Buyers or renters have the right to expect:
• Housing in their price range made available without discrimination.
• Equal professional service.
• The opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices.
• No discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing.
• No discrimination in the financing, appraising or insuring of housing.
• Reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities.
• Nondiscriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing or insuring of a dwelling.
• Freedom from harassment or intimidation for exercising their fair housing rights.
To file a complaint on suspected discrimination, visit dfeh.ca.gov.