April marks the 50th anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act. Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson just days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the act is a significant law guiding the real estate industry.
At the time of the signing, Johnson explained, “It proclaims that fair housing for all – all human beings who live in this country – is now a part of the American way of life.” The law grants everyone equal access to housing, no matter their ethnicity, nationality, religion, handicap or familial status.
Jinada Rochelle, assistant director of enforcement at the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, said, “It’s important to note that the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act was enacted in 1961 and at that time, it also covered fair housing.”
Realtors® have additional requirements to follow through the National Association of Realtors® Code of Ethics. “Our Code of Ethics outlines these obligations in Article 10,” said PAR President Todd Umbenhauer. “Our code says we should provide equal professional services to any person. NAR also added sexual orientation and gender identity to its Code of Ethics several years ago as well. I think this truly shows Realtors®’ commitment to equal opportunity in housing.”
For additional Fair Housing resources, visit PARealtor.org, NAR.Realtor, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development website and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission website.