Everyone — no matter who they are or where they come from — deserves a roof over their head.

John Giffen stated that in an Inman News article about Fair Housing recently. John is the Director of Broker Operations for Benchmark Realty, LLC in Franklin, Tennessee. He is the author of “Do You Have a Minute? An Award-Winning Real Estate Managing Broker Reveals Keys for Industry Success.” John’s article is a clear statement of purpose for the law of the land, our Realtor Code of Ethics, and the right ways to do business as real estate professionals.

John’s article led me to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website, and their Fair Housing Rights and Obligations page spells it all out.

“It is illegal to discriminate in the sale or rental of housing, including against individuals seeking a mortgage or housing assistance, or in other housing-related activities. The Fair Housing Act prohibits this discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.

A variety of other federal civil rights laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, prohibit discrimination in housing and community development programs and activities, particularly those that are assisted with HUD funding. These civil rights laws include obligations such as taking reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) and taking appropriate steps to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities through the provision of appropriate auxiliary aids and services.

Various federal fair housing and civil rights laws require HUD and its program participants to affirmatively further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act.

HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) works to eliminate housing discrimination and promote civil rights and economic opportunity through housing. FHEO enforces fair housing laws. One of its roles is to investigate complaints of housing discrimination. If you believe you have been discriminated against in violation of any of these federal fair housing laws, you can file a complaint with FHEO.”

If you want to learn more about specific details related to the practice of Fair Housing, check out these links:

Fair Housing Act

Non-Discrimination in Housing

Rights of persons with disabilities

Sexual harassment

Discrimination in mortgage lending

Rights of families with children

Non-discrimination in advertising and marketing

LGBTQ discrimination

Rights of persons with limited English proficiency

“Affirmatively furthering fair housing means taking meaningful actions that, taken together, address significant disparities in housing needs and in access to opportunity, replacing segregated living patterns with truly integrated and balanced living patterns, transforming racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty into areas of opportunity, and fostering and maintaining compliance with civil rights and fair housing laws.”

That’s the mandate for many local community housing authorities and services who are in the “public housing” business – I read that and I decided that the duty to affirmatively further fair housing extends to people like me also.

At TWG Atlanta, we primarily help sellers sell and buyers buy residential real estate. Sounds simple, however it is not easy. The good news is that the law is very easy to abide by and respect and decency and fair-minded business practices are the hallmarks of any great business. We pride ourselves on being leaders who are respectful, decent and fair-minded. We hope that you will take the time to consider how you can “affirmatively further” fair housing in your own world. If you have some landlording questions, or some questions about market conditions in your neighborhood, or any other general real estate curiosities, please connect with us!