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10. A. Federal Fair Housing Laws and the ADA


Real estate agents are held to a higher standard in fair housing matters.  It may be legal to discriminate but it is not ethical or acceptable.

Civil rights act of 1866 

Prohibits discrimination on race. It was the first act.


Civil Rights Act of 1866

Gave all citizens the same rights as those previously only enjoyed by whites to inherit, purchase and sell real and personal property.


Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VI prohibits discrimination in any programs receiving federal funds, such as FHA and VA loans or urban renewal projects.


Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co.

Upheld the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and removed all exceptions.


Federal Fair Housing Act

Civil Rights Act of 1968

Title VIII a/k/a the Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on national origin, color, religion and race. Enforced by HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development).

Civil Rights Act of 1968 is also known as the Fair Housing Act.

Title VIII– The Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968.



Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988

Added protection for people with physical or mental handicaps plus familial status. Also, gave H.U.D. increased enforcement power, removed the cap on punitive damages, et

Familial Status

A fair housing protected class prohibiting discrimination against individuals under the age of 18 living with a parent or legal guardian, including pregnant women or a person waiting to be claimed by a legal guardian.


An exemption is provided to housing protections afforded to age and familial classes intended for older people. Housing may be restricted to people 62 or older or 55 or older in cases where at least one occupant per unit is 55 and at least 80 percent of the units are occupied by people ages 55 or older. In these cases, children may be excluded.

Sixty-two years and older- Senior Housing exempt from familial status discrimination.

The exceptions in the 1988 Law are as follows.

Age: An exemption is provided to housing protections afforded to age and familial classes intended for older people. Housing may be restricted to people 62 or older or 55 or older in cases where at least one occupant per unit is 55 and at least 80 percent of the units are occupied by people ages 55 or older. In these cases, children may be excluded.

Owner-occupied housing: Multifamily housing of two to four units, where one of the units is owner-occupied, is exempt from fair housing laws.

Private clubs: An organization that restricts its membership may provide restricted housing to its members, as long as it doesn’t offer housing to the general public.

Public-law occupancy standards: Local maximum occupancy standards aren’t superseded in their application by the Fair Housing Act. For example, if a local law provides a maximum occupancy of two people per bedroom and you rent out a studio apartment in a building you own, you can’t be forced to rent the apartment to a couple with a child.

Religious organizations: Housing sponsored by a religious organization may be restricted to members of that particular religious organization, provided the religion doesn’t discriminate in its membership policies.

Single-family housing: The sale or rental of a single-family house is exempted from the rules of the Fair Housing Act if the owner doesn’t own more than three units at one time, and neither a broker nor discriminatory advertising is used. If such a property is sold, no more than one house can be sold during every two-year period.


 Fair Housing Act of 1974

Added sex (gender) as a protected class.


Protected Classes

Protected Classes

A category protected in law from housing discrimination. Federal law includes

  1. race
  2. color
  3. religion
  4. national origin
  5. sex
  6. familial status
  7. handicap

States and even local governments may have additional protected classes

EHO Poster– the Equal Housing Opportunity Poster 

must be conspicuously displayed in real estate, appraising, and lender offices. If the poster is not conspicuously displayed, it is considered “Prima Facie Discrimination.”

convicted drug dealer is not protected under federal fair housing laws. A convicted drug user may be protected under the American with Disabilities Act. 

If someone discriminates, but they don’t know they did because they are just basically ignorant, it is still a violation.

Religious organizations and private clubs may be allowed to discriminate under certain circumstances.  


Familial Status– A protected class that includes women who are pregnant or have children under 18. It’s the status of the family. An unmarried woman with kids is protected. Children under 18 are protected.  

An owner of an apartment complex cannot segregate families with children into certain buildings within a complex. A landlord cannot decide to NOT rent to an unmarried woman with kids or a pregnant woman based on Familial Status.

The landlord cannot segregate all the families with children in one area of the complex.

Complexes built for a segment of the population who are 55 years of age and older may discriminate based on familial status. A senior complex can choose not to rent to someone based on the children’s age when the senior complex bases the decision not to rent because of familial status. Fair Housing Laws protect the senior complex.

Refusing to rent to someone based on race is a violation of the Fair Housing Act.  


Sexual Orientation


Prohibited conduct (red-lining, blockbusting, steering)


The illegal act of inducing owners to sell now because property value will decrease due to real or rumored moving into the neighborhood by persons of any protected class.

A man going door-to-door in an older neighborhood and telling the residents that children or families from another country will be moving into their quiet neighborhood is guilty of blockbusting/panic peddling.


Trying to induce owners to sell their property because minorities or any protected group move into their neighborhood. Also called Panic Peddling.


The discriminatory practice of directing homebuyers to (or away from) specific areas based on a protected class to maintain homogeneity


is when an agent shows buyers properties only in certain neighborhoods instead of the entire market. based on a protected group.

Steering is when an agent shows buyer properties only in neighborhoods where the agent believes the buyer should live.


The enforcement agency that oversees fair housing laws.  

HUD protects people dealing with Fair Housing complaints. You have one year to file a complaint. 


is when you waited too long to sue someone. 

(Laches=locks=locked out of suing) 

  1. (For instance, if you wait one year and three days to file a Fair Housing Suit, the doctrine on Laches has taken over. You are locked out of suing because you attempted your suit after the one year allowance time to sue.)

An owner of a property can discriminate if he lives on his 1-4-unit property.



ADA- American with Disability Act

prohibits discrimination based on disability. An office with 15 or more employees must be accessible to those with disabilities.