Lenders and Real Estate Professionals
Lenders, Real Estate Brokers and Agents, Management Companies, and Leasing Agents
All organizations that make decisions about whether and how buyers or renters are given access to housing opportunities must understand the implications of their actions as they relate to the Fair Housing Act. These organizations include lenders, real estate brokers and agents, management companies, and leasing agents. Whether intentional or not, certain practices, including block busting, steering, and redlining, are violations of the Fair Housing Act.
Over the past two years, extensive testing of real estate companies located throughout the United States has been conducted. Testing reveals a surprising high level of steering and other illegal behavior that may still be taking place. Additionally, several lawsuits have been filed recently with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division against lending institutions alleging that minorities are often charged higher interest rates than others with the same credit history.
Additional Protected Classes in Texas
In addition to the federally protected classes of color, race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status, some cities in Texas also have additional protected classes. Leasing agents must be aware of these additional protections in the areas they serve.
To find out whether your city or county has additional protected classes, contact your local government offices directly. The following organizations may also be able to assist you:
- Austin Tenants' Council (www.housing-rights.org)
- Greater Houston Fair Housing Center: (713) 641-3247
- San Antonio Fair Housing Council (www.myfairhousing.org/)
- North Texas Fair Housing (www.northtexasfairhousing.org)
Uniform Relocation Act (URA)
The fair housing provisions of the Uniform Relocation Act (URA - HUD.gov) requires that whenever possible, referrals for minority persons should be made to housing that is not in an area of minority concentration and the replacement home must be comparable, decent, safe, and sanitary. These requirements apply to Community Planning Development, Housing, and Public Housing programs.