One of the main pieces of legislation aimed at ending discrimination in housing practices nationwide is the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The Fair Housing Act was passed in order to guarantee that everyone has equal access to housing possibilities. It is a shining example of justice and equality in the housing industry.

This in-depth article will discuss the primary concepts of Virginia's Fair Housing Act. Comprehending this legislation facilitates the development of an equitable and just housing environment for both tenants and landlords.

What Is the Fair Housing Act?

The FHA's main objective is to end discrimination in the housing industry in all of its forms. The FHA was primarily designed to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin, but it has since undergone considerable changes to increase its inclusion and scope.

In 1974, the concept of gender equality in housing was acknowledged with the addition of sex as a protected characteristic. In 1988, the legislation underwent another change that made discrimination against individuals with disabilities and family members illegal. This amendment reaffirmed the act's dedication to fostering diversity and inclusion in communities.

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The process of renting or purchasing a property is only one application of fair housing principles. Equal opportunities are ensured by the FHA in the fields of housing aid applications, mortgage lending procedures, home appraisals, community development fund distribution, and even real estate listings through services.

Which Kind of Discrimination Is Covered by the Fair Housing Act?

The following is a comprehensive overview of the different kinds of discrimination that are specifically forbidden by the Virginia Fair Housing Act:

  • Race: It is expressly forbidden by the Fair Housing Act to discriminate based on race. Housing providers are prohibited from treating people unfairly or denying them housing prospects because of their race.
  • Religion: It is absolutely forbidden to discriminate on the basis of religion. People shouldn't have to deal with prejudice or unfair treatment in housing concerns because of their religious practices or beliefs.
  • National Origin: It is against the law to discriminate in housing on the basis of someone's national origin. This guarantees that individuals from different nations will be treated fairly in the housing market.
  • Sex: Gender discrimination is prohibited by the Fair Housing Act. This includes making certain that people are not subjected to discriminatory treatment or excluded from housing possibilities according to their gender.

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  • Familial Status: It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of a family's status. This shields families with children under the age of eighteen from discrimination or housing denial.
  • Gender Identity and Expression: It is expressly forbidden to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression. This protects those who identify as something other than the gender they were assigned at birth.
  • Disability: Virginia's Fair Housing Act offers robust safeguards against discrimination based on disability. Housing providers are required to make sure that people with disabilities may access their homes.
  • Military and Veteran Status: People are shielded from discrimination on the basis of their veteran or military status by the Fair Housing Act. This guarantees veterans and military members equitable treatment in the property market.
  • Source of Income: It is unlawful to reject a potential tenant for receiving medical assistance, public assistance (such as Welfare or Food Stamps), or any other form of federal, state, or municipal housing support.
  • Sexual Orientation: It is specifically forbidden to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Because of their sexual orientation, housing providers are not allowed to treat people differently or refuse them housing options.
  • Elderliness: It's illegal to discriminate against someone based on their age, especially if they are elderly. Because of their age, housing providers cannot treat people differently or refuse them housing possibilities.

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  • Color: In order to provide fair and equal treatment for every person in the housing market, discrimination based on color is specifically prohibited.

Landlord’s Role in Fair Housing Act

In order to preserve legal compliance with landlord-tenant legislation and to ensure that everyone has equal chances in the housing market, landlords play a critical role including the following:

  • Familiarize Yourself with Fair Housing Laws: Landlords must acquaint themselves with and remain updated on federal, state, and local fair housing laws. Understanding this legal framework is crucial to prevent unintended violations and ensure compliance with anti-discrimination regulations.
  • Treat All Applicants Equitably: Landlords should treat all applicants fairly and equally in accordance with federal, state, and local fair housing laws. Comprehending the legal structure is essential to avoid unintentional breaches and uphold adherence to anti-discrimination statutes.
  • Promote Inclusivity in Advertising: Rental property advertisements should be inclusive and refrain from language or imagery that might imply a preference for or exclusion of specific groups. Use wording that highlights the property's features rather than targeting particular demographics.
  • Implement Consistent Screening Standards: Landlords should establish and consistently apply screening criteria for all applicants. This may encompass considerations like credit history, rental history, and income. Employing such criteria helps prevent perceptions of discrimination.
  • Accommodate Disabilities Reasonably: Landlords should be prepared to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities promptly. This might involve property modifications or adjustments to rules, policies, or procedures to ensure equal access and enjoyment of housing.

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  • Recognize Implicit Bias: Landlords should be mindful of any implicit biases that could influence their decisions. It's vital to base decisions on objective criteria rather than personal biases or stereotypes.
  • Ensure Clear and Uniform Communication: Communication with tenants should be transparent, consistent, and devoid of discriminatory language. This applies across all aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship, including lease agreements, eviction notices, and general interactions.

Bottom Line

Encouraging equitable housing practices is essential to creating inclusive diverse communities as well as being required by law. Landlords have a significant influence on the housing market. By upholding the fair housing principles, they help to foster an atmosphere in which people from all backgrounds have an equal chance of possessing a property.

First Providence Realty is a great partner to work with if you want to improve your property management procedures and make sure that fair housing rules are followed. Our knowledgeable staff can offer helpful advice to assist you in navigating the complexity of fair housing laws. We are committed to creating inclusive housing environments.

Contact us today to get started!

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this blog is intended for general guidance and should not be considered as a replacement for professional legal advice. It is important to be aware that laws pertaining to property management may change, rendering this information outdated by the time you read it.