The Fair Housing Act was passed in the year 1968. This Act is an important piece of legislation that is mostly anti-discriminatory in nature. The Act is meant to prohibit discrimination which was often practiced by the providers of residencies.
What Is The Fair Housing Act Of 1968?
Earlier, real estate agents, landlords, and even people enlisting properties for perpetual leases were known to judge, who would they consider a tenant or a potential buyer based on the
- national origin,
- and even the gender of the individual.
Anti-discriminatory legislation like the Fair Housing Act of 1968 had a big part to play in the functioning of a more socially and politically liberal society.
Discrimination Addressed Under The Act
One of the basic aims of the Act, when it was passed by the US Congress, consisted of the ban or prohibition of discrimination when it came to the sale or renting out of the residential property. Racial discrimination is very common when dealing with rental property.
Even though apartheid was abolished long back, landlords still prefer to rent their property out to their ‘race of choice’.
The Fair Housing Testing Program
This program was started to make detailed examinations of cases where there has been clear discrimination on rental matters based on color or race.
The Equal Credit Opportunities Act
This federal Act is often implemented by the Department Of Justice Of The United States and makes sure that no discriminatory practices are observed when credit or loan is provided to an individual, provided that they meet the requirements.
Victims, primarily black or brown victims have often complained that they have been redirected to rent a property that is in a more minority-based neighborhood. Thus, the black or colored individual was often made to feel that it was not acceptable for them to be living in a white-majority neighborhood.
Discrimination On The Basis Of Religion
The Federal Fair Housing Act states that it is completely against the law to display acts of discrimination based on one’s religion when renting or selling a residential property. However, the Act does lay down an exception in cases where the residential property is being maintained by a particular religious organization.
Thus, if a person is not allowed to stay in a hostel that is run by a Convent, it is completely justified under this Act.
Discrimination, Housing, And Sexual Harassment
The Fair Housing Act makes it very clear that no discrimination is to be carried out on the basis of one’s sex or sexual interpretation. Sexual harassment has been a very sensitive issue when dealing with rental properties.
It has been reported by many that women are often forced to keep quiet about the sexual abuse that they face at the hands of their landlords for the fear of being evicted. The fair housing federal legislation lays down that such behavior is completely illegal and liable for punishment.
Pricing issues are also fairly common, especially with minority women who are charged exorbitant amounts for rent based on their community and background.
Discrimination And National Origin
Discrimination is a very common practice that people of varied national origins face on a daily basis. The United States Department of Justice under the provisions of this Act has done its fair share to prevent people from restricting the rental and residential properties to people of a certain race or national origin.
Multiple efforts were made to stop the Hispanic population from inhabiting a particular neighborhood. They were however unsuccessful.
Who Is Responsible For Enforcing The Fair Housing Act?
The Department of Justice has on multiple occasions sued individuals for not abiding by the provisions mentioned in this Act, as well as the Equal Credit Opportunities Act.
Both of these Federal Legislations have worked for hand in hand.
The Department of Justice has also ended up suing lenders and banks for their discriminatory practices toward the Hispanic population. Commercial and personal lenders have also been known to display discriminatory behavior towards Native Americans, African Americans, Indians, and any other racial and ethnic minority.
Discrimination To Families
The provisions of this Act have made sure that no discrimination is meted out to families which have children under 18 years of age. No landlord can deny such families residence if they are law-abiding citizens.
Housing For Older Persons Act
This federal Act makes sure that any older person benefitting from the provisions under this Act may not be discriminated against on the same grounds as the Fair Housing Act.
Discrimination On The Basis Of Disability
Such kind of discrimination is strictly prohibited under the Act and is even considered punishable.
Details On The Fair Housing Act Emotional Support Animal
Even if the housing facility has rules stating that no pets are allowed, this case would exclude any emotional support animal. Thus if one can show solid documentation stating that the animal is indeed kept for emotional support, the housing facility has to make an exception in such cases.
The Court has also ruled that emotional support animals are not technically considered to be pets.
And That’s A Wrap!
The Fair Housing Act has also been vested with the power to hear individual complaints relating to discrimination in housing. If one is indeed facing discrimination, they can feel; free to lodge a complaint stating the same under the Department Of Housing And Urban Development.
The Department of Justice will then uphold these suits to the Court in the jurisdiction as and when it deems fit.
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