When a person is in the market for a new home, it is important to look for the Equal Housing Opportunity logo. This is a symbol in the form of an equal sign inside of a house, representing the Fair Housing Act. During the process of searching for a house, it can be beneficial to retain the services of an experienced real estate attorney to protect your rights.
What is the Fair Housing Act?
Also known as the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act became law in 1968 when it was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. It is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against those who wish to rent or buy a home. This is in place in order to prevent housing discrimination based upon an individual’s race, sex, religion, color, origin, disability, familial status, etc. The Fair Housing Act symbol can usually be seen on the paperwork of a landlord, real estate agent, or lender.
What are Examples of Housing Discrimination?
When a person is in the market for a new home, they tend to interact with many real estate agents, sellers, landlords, lenders, property management companies, and more. It is important to be aware that all of these parties are obligated to uphold the Fair Housing Act. Violations of the act can occur during any phase of the process, including advertising, searching, the application process, credit checks, eviction proceedings, etc. Examples of housing discrimination can include, but are not limited to:
- Trying to keep a buyer away from a particular neighborhood
- Avoiding renting a property by saying the unit was already rented when it is not
- Evicting a person of color for a reason they would not evict another tenant for
- Not renting to a family with children or requiring such a family to pay a higher deposit
- Asking questions or requiring excessive documentation from an immigrant couple when they would not for another buyer
- Charging a single woman a higher interest rate than others
- Refusing to make accommodations for a disabled tenant
What Do I Do If I Was Discriminated Against?
When a person is discriminated against and not given equal opportunity for housing, legal action can be taken. This includes the following options:
- File a report with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A complaint can also be filed with local housing resources through the National Fair Housing Alliance.
- Collect information from local housing agencies. Counselors at HUD can answer questions, provide education workshops, and pre-purchase counseling and rental housing assistance.
- Retain the services of an experienced real estate attorney.
- Surround yourself with people you can trust. This can include receiving recommendations real estate agents, mortgage brokers, lenders, and more from family members, friends, and colleagues.
Contact our Firm
Zimmet Law Group, P.C. is an experienced team of attorneys guiding clients through matters of estate planning and administration, divorce and family law, real estate, commercial litigation, business law, bankruptcy, and landlord-tenant law. If you require the services of an effective New York City attorney, contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.