Looking for a new home can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. There are many things to consider and the process can be long. During this time, the last thing a person should have to think about is if they are getting a fair shot at buying a home. It is because of this that the Fair Housing Act was established to ensure that discrimination does not take place. If you believe you were discriminated against at any point during the home buying process, contact an experienced Alabama real estate attorney for assistance.
What is the Fair Housing Act?
The Fair Housing Act became law in 1968 to prohibit discrimination against individuals buying or renting a home. This prevents housing discrimination based upon a person’s race, sex, religion, color, origin, disability, familial status, etc. The Fair Housing Act symbol can usually be seen on the paperwork of a landlord, real estate agent, or lender in the form of an equal sign inside of a house.
What are Examples of Housing Discrimination?
Many different parties are involved in the process of buying a home. It is important to make sure all of them uphold the Fair Housing Act. Violations of the act can occur during advertising, searching, the application process, credit checks, eviction proceedings, etc. Examples of this can include, but are not limited to:
- Trying to keep a buyer away from a neighborhood
- Avoiding renting a property to someone by saying the unit was already rented when it is not
- Evicting a person of color for a reason they would not evict another tenant for
- Not renting to a family with children or requiring a family to pay a higher deposit
- Asking questions or requiring excessive documentation from an immigrant couple when they would not for another buyer
- Charging a single woman a higher interest rate
- Refusing to make accommodations for a disabled tenant
What Do I Do If I Was Discriminated Against?
When discrimination does occur, legal action can be taken. Some options for this include:
- File a report with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A complaint can also be filed with local housing resources through the National Fair Housing Alliance.
- Collect information from local housing agencies. Counselors at HUD can answer questions, provide education workshops, and pre-purchase counseling and rental housing assistance.
- Retain the services of an experienced real estate attorney.
- Surround yourself with people you can trust while searching for a home. This can include receiving recommended real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and lenders from family members, friends, and colleagues.
Contact our Firm
Stone Crosby, P.C. has proudly served clients in Alabama for over 100 years. Our firm has experience handling matters including divorce and family law, estate planning and administration, business law, employment law, class actions, consumer protection, business law, real estate law, among many others. If you require quality legal representation, contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.