The FHA is a federal law that protects buyers and renters from a wide range of discrimination. This law applies to a majority of houses, apartments and other forms of housing, but there are exceptions, including some owner-occupied buildings, religious organizations or private clubs.
Property owners cannot discriminate against buyers and renters based on the following:
- National origin
- Sexual or gender orientation
Illegal actions include harassment or intimidation based on any of the above protections.
Typical forms of discrimination are illegal. While real estate transactions may not happen for various reasons, the owner or seller cannot say the property is no longer available when the statement is untrue. They also cannot advertise a property in a way designed to restrict those who apply. Another violation is called “blockbusting,” which involves real estate agents urging property owners to sell before property values drop due to minority encroachment.
Separating facts from assumptions
Issues involving discrimination are often highly complex and nuanced. It may be due to a misunderstanding or other factors unrelated to FHA protections, but it still may be necessary to protect one’s rights and best interests in court. Those with questions or concerns about potential legal action surrounding FHA protections often can get help from an attorney who handles these matters.