Today marks the anniversary of an important turning point in American history. Fifty-one years ago, on April 11, 1968, the Fair Housing Act was enacted into law, banning housing discrimination across the U.S. This was a monumental achievement that has since opened up housing opportunities to millions of people, and today we continue to celebrate this vital feat.
During National Fair Housing Month, I invite you to join me in renewing your commitment to providing equal housing opportunity for all, and in continuing to champion diversity and inclusion in your business practices.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits any discrimination in the buying, selling, rental, or financing of housing based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.
Here are some common examples of what the law prohibits:*
Making housing unavailable or denying a dwelling
Setting different terms, conditions, or privileges for a sale or rental
Falsely denying that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
Discriminating against pregnant women or families with children under 18 living in the household
Refusing to make a mortgage loan or provide information regarding loans
Imposing different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees
*Based on someone's race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.
These regulations apply to both professionals and consumers alike, including mortgage lenders, real estate brokers and agents, buyers, sellers, renters, landlords, and anyone else taking part in the process. That means if someone is asking you to partake in discriminatory practices — even if it's a client — you have the law on your side should you need to deny or ignore their request, or even refuse to work with them.
Avoiding what the law prohibits is just the first step in ending discrimination. In our increasingly diverse world, we're bound to encounter thousands of people throughout our careers who don't think, look, behave, or believe like us. This can advertently or inadvertently cause us to treat people differently. Adopting a mindset that embraces diversity and supports inclusion in our business practices will help ensure that everyone we work with — from clients to vendors to industry partners — is treated fairly and with respect.
As we celebrate National Fair Housing Month, let's work together to create a more fair and equitable world for everyone. The work we do each day plays a direct role in preserving the progress we've made over the past 51 years, and will continue to pave the way for a better future.