We have many problems in society, discrimination shouldn’t be one of them. Discrimination is illegal and wrong. In 1968, congress passed a bill prohibiting people from refusing housing based on a protected class. Those providing housing can’t refuse housing on a protected classes. These include: race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, source of income, familial status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Anyone providing housing, renting or selling, must be fair to all parties. We can not discriminate to individuals included in any of these classes.
Most property management companies or real estate professionals understand fair housing and avoid discrimination. We understand why and how to avoid discrimination because of our required education. We also experience opportunities to discriminate on a regular basis.
More than once, I’ve been showing investment properties to clients when I hear them say they can discriminate. One person said “I don’t want to rent to any polygamists”. Another person said “I don’t want to rent to anyone who is gay”. After explaining that these are forms of discrimination and violations of Fair Housing Act, I explained that it’s wrong and advised them of the Fair Housing Act. One person refused to hire me to manage their property. The other appreciated the education and said they wouldn’t discriminate.
Another client told me that owners who manage their own properties don’t have to follow the same rules. He said, “I can choose who I rent to. You can’t because you’re a professional.” If you are a property owner and represent yourself in your transactions, you must be knowledgeable of the Fair Housing Act. Just because you are unaware of the Fair Housing Act, doesn’t preclude you from committing a violation. Also, just because you don’t have a realtor license, doesn’t preclude you from the law. Consequences for anyone who has violated the Fair Housing Act can be serious. Penalties for can include $16,000 – $65,000 fines.
Discrimination is illegal so when you experience discrimination, report it! Claims can be filed at U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. On the Utah Labor Commission website, it says you have up to 365 days to file a claim. “In most situations, a complaint must be filed within 365 days of the date of the discrimination. UALD will investigate claims that are filed within 180 days of the discrimination.”
Keep good records and note as soon as possible including dates, time, and details of the occurrence to help support your claim. File the claim as soon as possible after the violation.
I recently viewed this article by the History Channel. It is very insightful and I highly recommend. History Channel – Fair Housing Act.