Virginia Fair Housing Law & Other Real Estate Laws

Instructor: Kyle Aken

Kyle is a journalist and marketer that has taught writing to a number of different children and adults after graduating from college with a degree in Journalism. He has a passion for not just the written word, but for finding the universal truths of the world.

The Virginia Fair Housing Law is designed to protect home buyers and tenants from discrimination. This lesson explains the details of this statute as well some of the other real estate laws in Virginia.

Virginia Fair Housing Law

Federal and state fair housing laws protect people from discrimination when they try to buy a house, rent an apartment or obtain homeowner's insurance. In fact, fair housing requirements apply to everyone who helps provides a home, from landlords to insurance companies.

In Virginia, the Fair Housing Board enforces and administers the Virginia Fair Housing Law. This law applies to owners, real estate agents, banks, managers, insurance companies, savings institutions, credit unions, mortgage lenders and appraisers. The Real Estate Board takes responsibility for cases that involve their employees and real estate licensees. Both boards investigate about 180 complaints through the Virginia Housing Office every year. The majority of complaints are for racial or disability discrimination, but familial status complaints are becoming more common.

Prohibited Practices in Virginia

If you are working with a real estate agent or property manager to locate a rental or purchase a home, even if you are trying to obtain a homeowner's insurance or a mortgage, there is no circumstance where you should be treated different due to your color, race, religion, national origin, sex, age, familial status, or disability. Virginia Fair Housing Law prohibits discrimination practices, such as:

  • Refusing to negotiate, rent or sell, or otherwise deny any dwelling after an offer is made to any person.
  • Discriminating against someone on the terms, conditions or privileges of rental or sale of a dwelling.
  • Creating, printing, or publishing any statement, notice or ad with respect to rental or sale of a dwelling that indicates discrimination, limitation, or any preference.
  • Representing to someone that a dwelling is not available when it is.
  • Denying access to membership in a multiple listing service, real estate brokers office or any other type of real estate service.
  • Including in a rental, transfer, or lease any restrictive covenants.
  • Inducing, or even attempting to induce, the rent or sale of any dwelling regarding entry of a particular person(s) into a neighborhood.
  • Refusing to permit reasonable modification of existing premises to someone with a disability.
  • Refusing to make reasonable accommodations in practice, rules, or services to a person with a disability.
  • Failing to design or construct a multifamily dwelling with common use and public areas that are accessible to those with disabilities.

In addition to the prohibited practices , there are many other prohibited actions that are not allowed as well - from failing to provide repairs or maintenance services to limiting the use of services, privileges or other facilities related to a dwelling, and much more.

Virginia Real Estate Transaction Recovery Act

The Virginia Real Estate Transaction Recovery Act provides relief for eligible consumers who have suffered losses through the dishonest or improper conduct of a licensed real estate broker, salesperson, or firm. The recovery fund is supported solely by assessments paid by licensees rather than tax revenues.

A person is eligible to make a claim if a court judgment is obtained against an entity or individual who is licensed by the Real Estate Board for improper or dishonest conduct of the licensee. This means that the licensee must have been in the wrong or fraudulent in the taking or conversion of property, money, or other things of value, it also includes material misrepresentation and deceit. In some cases, the statutory requirements are not met to support a Recovery Fund claim, but disciplinary actions can still be taken against a licensee by the Real Estate Board without a claim.

Other Acts Pertaining to Real Estate Practice

In Virginia, there are many other specific acts that are relevant to different real estate practices, including:

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