April Is Fair Housing Month
This month marks the 45th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, a law signed by President Johnson. That law and its amendments make it illegal to base decisions on sale or rental of property based on a person’s race, color, national origin, religion, gender, family status or disability.
Although racial discrimination is less frequent today than it was in 1968, fair housing violations still happen. The HUD blog recently pointed to events where a woman with children and a man with hearing loss were each denied housing. Anyone who has been discriminated against can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under a HUD program designed to investigate and correct any actions taken in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Fair housing is a year-round law, not just something to think about in April. However Fair Housing Month is a good opportunity for real estate attorneys and agents to take a look at their practices and ask themselves if they are discriminating without meaning to. Something as simple as not showing properties with stairs just because your client is in a wheelchair could be seen as a fair housing violation rather than a compassionate act.
This would be a good time to mention how Easy Soft’s HUD 1 settlement software helps you maintain a fair practice…but it doesn’t. It reduces the time it takes to complete closing forms, automatically enters property taxes and other calculations, and includes optional features that generate hundreds of real estate documents, integrate with real estate accounting software for trust management or allow you to file 1099-S forms electronically but it’s still up to you to ensure you treat all your clients equally.
However this blog isn’t just about trumpeting our products. We want to give you information that adds value to your real estate practice. In a previous blog entry we pointed you to HUD software that helps your clients get fair housing advice or file a fair housing complaint. We stay on the lookout for changes to HUD laws or tax regulations that will affect your business.
Fair housing affects us all. Real estate attorneys and agents have to be especially careful to avoid even the appearance of bias when dealing with clients. Easy Soft’s line of legal practice management software automates and simplifies your practice, allowing you to focus on providing quality service to all your clients.