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What You Should Know About Equal Opportunity Housing

The sale and purchase of a home is a major milestone in your life, which is why you should be able to feel 100 percent confident in that decision. Whether you are looking for your very first home or settling down after retirement, you should always be assured that the home buying process will be equal and fair. Equal Opportunity Housing is put in place to avoid discrimination in the home buying and selling process. The Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, nationality, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. As a buyer or seller, you should feel confident in your decision, know your rights, and be able to voice your concerns should they arise.

What is Prohibited? 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. This includes:

  • The refusal to rent or sell a home

  • The refusal to negotiate for housing

  • A seller making housing unavailable

  • Providing different housing services or facilities

  • Falsely deny that housing is unavailable for inspection, sale or rental

What Are My Rights as a Buyer? As a buyer, you are entitled to rights that protect you when purchasing a home. You should always feel comfortable going into a home for a showing, sitting down with a real estate agent for a consultation, or signing paperwork.

What Are My Responsibilities as a Seller? As a home seller or landlord you have a responsibility and a requirement under the law not to discriminate in the sale of a home or rental property. Your real estate agent should be fully prepared to help you navigate your responsibilities as a seller or a rental property owner.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Discrimination? If you feel like you are being discriminated against in the home search process, you have the right to speak up and defend your rights as a home buyer. There are a few different ways you can speak up. You can reach out to your real estate agent or contact one of the agencies put in place for Equal Opportunity Housing.

The Local Boards of REALTORS® will accept complaints alleging violations of the Code of Ethics filed by a home seeker who alleges discriminatory treatment in the availability, purchase or rental of housing. You can also contact the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development for complaints against discrimination in housing.

Purchasing a home should be a stress-free and enjoyable process. Having equal rights in the home buying journey is a big part of that. If you feel like you are being discriminated against, know that you have rights and people to defend you under the Equal Opportunity Housing Act.

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