It is important for individuals buying a home to be aware of their rights. All people have the same right to own a home and cannot be discriminated against during their search. It is because of this that buyers should look out for the Equal Housing Opportunity logo, representing the Fair Housing Act. This is a symbol in the form of an equal sign inside of a house. When dealing with real estate matters, it is beneficial to retain the services of an experienced New York real estate attorney for guidance.
What is the Fair Housing Act?
Also known as the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act became law in 1968. It prohibits discrimination against individuals who want to either rent or buy a home. This prevents housing discrimination based on a person’s race, sex, religion, color, origin, disability, familial status, etc. Buyers can usually find the Fair Housing Act symbol on the paperwork of a landlord, real estate agent, or lender.
What are Examples of Housing Discrimination?
While shopping for a new home, people often interact with many different people including real estate agents, sellers, landlords, lenders, property management companies, and more. All of these parties are required to uphold the Fair Housing Act. Examples of housing discrimination can include, but are not limited to:
- Trying to keep a buyer away from a particular neighborhood
- Avoiding renting a property by saying the unit was already rented when it is not
- Evicting a person of color for a reason they would not evict another tenant for
- Not renting to a family with children or requiring such a family to pay a higher deposit
- Asking questions or requiring excessive documentation from an immigrant couple when they would not for another buyer
- Charging a single woman a higher interest rate than others
- Refusing to make accommodations for a disabled tenant
What Steps Can I Take If I Was Discriminated Against?
When a person is subject to discrimination during their housing search, there are various options to pursue legal action. This can include any of the following:
- File a report with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or with local housing resources through the National Fair Housing Alliance.
- Collect information from local housing agencies. Counselors at HUD can answer questions, provide education workshops, pre-purchase counseling and rental housing assistance.
- Contact an experienced real estate attorney.
- Surround yourself with people you can trust during your search. This can include seeking recommendations regarding real estate agents, mortgage brokers, lenders, and more from family members, friends, and colleagues.
Contact our Firm
The Lauterbach Law Firm is proud to serve clients throughout Rockland County who are faced with legal matters related to estate planning, real estate, foreclosure defense, landlord-tenant law, business law, and criminal defense. If you require the services of an experienced team of attorneys, contact The Lauterbach Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.