The month of April commemorates the passing of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 — a law that is still relevant for real estate agents today. Fifty-three years after the law passed, real estate agents remain in a unique position to uphold and advance the standards of fair housing opportunities as pillars of the communities they serve.
The History of the Fair Housing Act
President Lydon Johnson signed the act on April 11, 1968, declaring a national policy of fair housing. The law makes it illegal to discriminate in the sale, lease, or financing of housing based on race, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability.
The enactment of the Fair Housing Act followed the tragic assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968. Dr. King’s death and close association with the fair housing legislation incited congress to approve of the bill’s passage just seven days later as an homage to Dr. King’s life work.
Fair Housing Today
Today, April is known as Fair Housing Month and is a reminder to recommit to the values and practices that support equality in housing opportunities. Although overt discrimination such as redlining or blockbusting is no longer widespread practices, discrimination still exists today.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development,
Last year, HUD and its Fair Housing Assistance Program partner agencies received more than 7,700 complaints alleging discrimination based on one or more of the Fair Housing Act’s seven protected classes: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, and disability. During that period, the categories with the highest number of complaints were disability and race, respectively.
As Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge mentioned in her 2021 commemorative statement on the Fair Housing Act, there is a bigger need for fair housing now more than ever. She went on to say that
the racial ownership gap is wider today than it was over fifty year ago when the Fair Housing Act was first enacted.
As real estate agents in the present day, it’s important to remember the history of discrimation in housing to provide a foundation for the values of equality we have today. If you’re a real estate broker/owner or real estate team leader, consider celebrating the Fair Housing Month with your agents and get free access to a Fair Housing Month background for your team meetings or huddles.
Future of Fair Housing
April of 1986 marked a huge step in the right direction for fair housing but hardly concluded the issues of inequality in the American housing market.
The Act requires communities and the federal government to proactively further fair housing residential integration, and equal opportunity goals; however, equal opportunity in housing remains a major challenge, with collateral impact far beyond four walls and a roof.Policy Link
The nation still has a long way to go to provide equal opportunities and to close the gaps created by a long history of discrimination. Real estate agents have the opportunity to be agents of change and progress as they represent buyers and sellers in their communities with the intention of providing equitable service.
Workman Success Systems offers real estate coaching and training with a focus on ethics and integrity — helping our clients to support the Fair Housing Act and appropriately accommodate clients based on their needs. If you want to develop your skills to provide exceptional service as a real estate agent, schedule a free consultation to learn more about Workman Success Systems’ coaching and training options.