The Fair Housing Act

by San Antonio Attorney

The greatest protections and deterrence for hate crimes related to housing is found in the Fair Housing Act.  This federal law was introduced by a bi-partisan Congress shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.  The Fair Housing Act made illegal to discriminate home buyers because of color, race, sex, religion, national origin, familial status, or disability.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, together with the Justice Department, has seen numerous evidence of very prevalent housing discrimination of just about every kind.  When Latino and African American adults try to rent a property, apply a mortgage or purchase a home, many of them are still encountering tactics like dishonesty about availability, directing towards certain neighborhoods, or loan rates far worse than white-colored clients with similar incomes and credit scores.

Because it is so rampant, the U.S. Department of Justice has raised the civil monetary fines for violations of the Fair Housing Act.  The new maximum civil penalty for an initial violation has increased to $75,000 from $55,000, and for consequent offenses the new limit is $150,000.

The new rule also applies to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, and the Service Members Civil Relief Act.

In July, the administration has announced the new rules which require communities to establish fair housing goals, keep track of them, review local housing activities for racial discrimination and indications of ongoing racial segregation then report their results every three to five years.

The Fair Housing Act does not include all types of discrimination or all kinds of housing.  You can consult a San Antonio Real Estate Attorney to find out if there is an enacted legislation that provides further protection against housing discrimination.


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