Fair Housing Protections Are Growing for Protected Classes in D.C.
Regardless of where you fall politically, if there’s anything that speaks to the importance of real estate and its impact on a person’s life, it’s the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Originally signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson as a major part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, fair housing laws have allowed hard-working Americans to purchase or rent real estate wherever they choose (and can afford) to without property holders and lenders preventing them from doing so based on race, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or family status.
By doing so, individuals who were formerly denied the ability to purchase real estate now have the same access to economic opportunities, grocery stores, parks, and school districts, thus helping break systemic cycles of poverty and, in well to do neighborhoods, help stabilize markets. Preceding the Fair Housing Act, some real estate professionals and lenders would “steer” clients away from certain areas, causing those properties to drop in value, generating less property tax income, and letting schools go underfunded.
“Housing discrimination prevented blacks from owning homes for more than a century, which continues to affect purchasing power today,” Sheharyar Bokhari, a senior economist with Redfin real estate brokerage, told The Washington Post.
There’s no denying that purchasing a house and building equity in real estate (which can be borrowed against if necessary) is a financial tool that can benefit future generations of families. That’s one of the main reasons why purchasing, if the financials allow, is superior to renting and it should remain accessible to all Americans.
Thus, it has been the duty of the modern real estate professional to help uphold these standards. And why not? They expand your potential client base and you get to help make a direct impact on someone’s life. It’s a win-win for agents.
Yet a recent attempt to dismantle a set of extensions known as the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule enacted by President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. has advocates (of varying political views) calling on the importance of fair housing over 52 years after the initial act was passed.
“Fair housing regulations remain one of the key tools for addressing long-standing inequities and historical disadvantages and must be strengthened, not weakened,” said a July 28 joint statement from two Catholic bishops and the head of Catholic Charities USA in response to the recent attempt to change the law.
A bipartisan effort, legislators are expanding upon the groundwork laid in the late ‘60s, with many states adding their own additional protections. To ensure you’re operating within the law and helping all Americans achieve their dream of homeownership, please visit HUD.gov for in-depth information and resources.
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