Each April, REALTORS® celebrate Fair Housing Month to
commemorate the law, which was passed in 1968 and amended
in 1988. Yet nearly 50 years after its passage, racial and religious
tensions continue to dominate national conversations and
stoke heated rhetoric in presidential politics. Is that tension
having an e;ect on real estate sales? Apparently not. Housing
discrimination is the exception today, according to a survey
REALTOR® Magazine conducted with NAR members in February.
Of the 2,300 respondents, more than 80 percent said they had
not encountered housing discrimination in their market.
That’s great news. And yet, fair housing challenges remain.
Violations—and government e;orts to enforce the law—
continue. Nearly 10 percent of respondents to the survey
said they had encountered discrimination in their markets, 18
percent of those saying it happened within the past month or
“earlier this year.”
Fair housing organizations receive about 25,000 to 30,000
complaints each year, according to the National Fair Housing
Alliance, a coalition of privately run fair housing groups.
Yet, testing suggests there are many more instances of
discrimination—the NFHA estimates about 3. 7 million annually.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
has conducted thousands of tests in recent years, employing
housing organizations to send testers out to view for-sale and
rental properties as a means of determining whether landlords,
lenders, agents, and others in the real estate community treat
protected classes di;erently.
Cli; Long, CEO of the Birmingham Association of
REALTORS® in Alabama, says discrimination in the rental
process is the biggest issue in his market. When he was
relocating to Birmingham three years ago, he experienced it
firsthand. Long, who is African-American, says several landlords
wanted him to produce financial records before they would
show him rental units—a practice that fair housing groups say is
often aimed at minorities only. Having just taken the top job at
the association, Long decided not to file a complaint.
Nearly all respondents said if they encountered potential
discriminatory language or actions, they’d likely address it the
Have you seen discrimination in your market?
Source: REALTOR® Magazine survey of 2,300 NAR members
25,000 to 30,000 complaints, annually
3. 7 million estimated instances of discrimination
Source: National Fair Housing Alliance