Fair Housing Laws And Ethics

Fair Housing Laws And Ethics

When you put your home up for sale “by owner”, you open yourself up to the world…literally! You may deal with people of different ethnic groups or nationalities. People of different races are sure to be house hunting. Those with disabilities or handicaps also need housing. Discriminating against any of the above groups is a violation of the law when it comes to fair housing. Exceptions can be made to be discerning, especially for battered women shelters or those with certain disabilities. Under the Fair Housing Laws it is illegal to:

*Base your decisions on someone’s color, creed, nationality, sexual orientation, or handicap.

*Make housing unavailable.

*Deny housing.

*Refuse to negotiate for sale or rental of your home.

*Falsely claim that the housing is not available to rent, buy or inspect.

*Set different terms and conditions or privileges for the sale or rental of any dwelling.

*Persuade owners to sell or rent to you. This is known as “Blockbusting”.

*Deny access to any membership in a service or membership related to the sale or rental of any dwelling.

Violating these clauses will result in prosecution, and criminal charges will be brought against the violator. This criteria exists for mortgage lenders also. There is a clause that states it is illegal to threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with any person exercising a fair housing right. You may not advertise, or put a limit or preference to race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or handicap. This prohibition against discrimination in advertising applies to all single family dwells, as well as the owner-occupied home that would otherwise be exempt from the Fair Housing Act. Housing discrimination is not always someone slamming the door in the face of someone you don’t like. Nor is there always something derogatory said about someone. However, some actions are ugly and very hurtful to a would-be buyer. Sometimes we send messages through our body language – we frown or back away from people who are different. There are people who actually do this, and they have no idea that they are sending out negative signals to a would be buyer. No buyer would stand for someone who has such a negative reaction to their very presence. Besides that, it is against the law. As a seller, it is important to treat each perspective buyer as a person worthy of your respect. We are, after all, members of the same Human race. The best way to conduct the sale of your home is to do so in a business like manner. Treat the whole process with all the seriousness it deserves. The goal is to sell your home. All newspaper ads should be directed to the general public. Ads should contain only descriptive pictures of your dwelling. You may disclose the demographic makeup of your neighborhood, but you may not describe just what “type” of buyer you want. If you follow all these guidelines you won’t have to deal with any offensive or discrimination problems. There will always be technical problems when selling by owner, but breaking the law is something that need not happen.


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