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Alabama Fair Housing Act: Definition & Requirements

Instructor: Tara Schofield
Your clients are protected by the Fair Housing Act that ensures they are not discriminated against if they are part of a protected class. Learn about the classes and how the requirements work in Alabama.

Protection

You are a real estate agent in Alabama. Your buyer is a transgender woman who has experienced a tremendous amount of discrimination. She wants your help to negotiate with a homebuilder to purchase a home in a new, wealthy neighborhood.

The builder has a prejudice against transgender individuals. When you and your client talk to the builder, you are surprised to find the price has suddenly jumped by $70,000. You suspect the builder is discriminating against your client and file a claim with the Alabama Fair Housing Center to investigate the problem.

What is Fair Housing?

The Fair Housing Act is a law that protects individuals from being discriminated against based on:

  • Race or Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • Disability

Fair housing applies to all providers of real estate, including landlords, homebuilders, developers, mortgage providers, and similar parties. The Fair Housing Act provides protection to renters and buyers, ensuring all people have the same access to fair housing.

Familial Status Discrimination

Another client contacts you to explain that the apartment she applied for turned her down because her children will be living with her. Because the apartment complex was not deemed a senior property, the manager cannot discriminate based on familial status.

You contact the manager, explaining the possible violation of the Fair Housing Act. Surprisingly, your client receives a phone call from the manager explaining she has been approved for an apartment.

The Alabama Real Estate Commission will investigate any claims made for violations of the Fair Housing Act. A licensed professional may have penalties and fees imposed upon them, including having their license suspended or revoked for repeat offenses.

Advertising

Advertising can be a violation of the Fair Housing Act if the ad contains discriminatory language. You have the same responsibility, as an agent, that other professionals have to not discriminate against possible buyers.

For instance, you cannot state you have a home that is reserved for Asians because you are discriminating against all other nationalities. If you represent an individual seller, the seller may have discriminatory opinions, but you cannot abide by requests by your client if it breaks fair housing laws. Your advertising must be free from claims, statements, or offers that violate the laws.

Policy in an Agency

As an agent, you have a responsibility to understand and follow the Fair Housing Act, ensuring you understand the protected classes and how the laws affect you and your clients. Your broker will have a written policy handbook for his or her office that should include guidelines for ensuring there is not any discrimination in the agency.

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