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         Equal Housing Opportunity           

What everyone should know about equal opportunity in housing.

The sale and purchase of a home is one of the most significant events that any person will experience in his lifetime. It is more than the simple purchase of housing, for it includes the hopes, dreams, aspirations and economic destiny of those involved in it.


Equal Opportunity In Housing is the law of the land and the right of all in this country without regard to race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

Civil Rights Act of 1866

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 provides that │All citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in every State and Territory as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold and convey real and personal property."

In the case of Jones vs. Mayer decided on June 17, 1968, the U. S. Supreme Court held that the 1866 law prohibits "all racial discrimination, private as well as public, in the sale or rental of property."

Fair Housing Act

In Title VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act known as the Federal Fair Housing Law Congress declared a national policy of fair housing throughout the United States.

The law made illegal any discrimination in the sale, lease or rental of real property based on race, color religion, sex or national origin. The law required that all people be treated equally with respect to the terms or conditions of sale, purchase, lease or rental and with no denial of equal housing opportunity based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 was enacted September 13, 1988 (and became effective March 12, 1989) to strengthen the administrative enforcement provision of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, to add prohibitions against discrimination in housing on the basis of handicap (mental and physical) and familial status (families with children under age 18), and to provide stiffer penalties for violations relating to discriminatory housing practices.


The home seller, the home seeker and the real estate professional all have rights and responsibilities under the law.

For The Home Seller

You should know that as a home seller or landlord you have a responsibility and a requirement under the law not to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. You cannot instruct the licensed broker or salesperson acting as your agent to convey for you any limitations in the sale or rental, because the real estate professional is also bound by law not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.

Under the law a home seller or landlord cannot establish discriminatory terms or conditions in the purchase or rental; deny that housing is available for inspection, sale or rent when in fact it is available or advertise that the property is available only to persons of a certain race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.

For The Home Seeker

You should know that you have the right to expect that housing will be available to you without discrimination or other limitations based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. It is available to you on terms and conditions which are non-discriminatory under the law.

You should know that in essence the law mandates equal professional service for all home seekers.

For The Real Estate Professional

As a home seller or home seeker, you should know that the terms REALTOR« and REALTOR-ASSOCIATES« identify a licensed professional in real estate who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS«. Not all licensed real estate brokers and salespersons are members of the National Association, and only those who are, can identify themselves as REALTORS« and REALTOR-ASSOCIATES«. They conduct their business and activities in accordance with a strict Code of Ethics.

As agents in a real estate transaction, licensed brokers or salespersons are prohibited by law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. A request from the home seller or landlord to act in a discriminatory manner in the sale, lease or rental cannot legally be fulfilled by the real estate professional.

The Member Board of REALTORS« in your city or town can give you more information about filing and handling of a professional standards complaint. Complaints alleging discrimination in housing may also be filed with the nearest office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development or by calling HUD's toll free number at

1-800-669-9777 or 1-800-543-8294 (TDD)



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