Celebrate Central Ohio Real Estate During Fair Housing Month 
Did you know that April is known as Fair Housing Month in the Central Ohio real estate community and nationwide? This year marks the 55th anniversary of the landmark celebration that is a commitment to equal opportunity for every community. Each year, we recognize the importance of this event and reconfirm our commitment to upholding fair housing laws through our property management services; we accomplish this through our commitment to offering equal CRE services to everyone throughout their commercial real estate journey.
As you look at prospective investors of residential and multifamily properties (as well as commercial properties), join us in taking fair housing in our great region seriously – not just this month, but every month. Learn more about Fair Housing and what you can do to get involved, below.
Fair Housing FAQs:
The Federal Fair Housing Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and passed into law on April 11, 1968. This act aims to end discriminatory practices related to housing, such as renting, selling, and financing. Regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability, nationality, familial status, sexual orientation, and gender identity), all classes of people must have equal opportunity and access to housing in America. In addition to the above-protected classes, the Ohio Fair Housing Law (Ohio Revised Code Section 4112) includes legal protection based on ancestry and military status.
ICYMI: In 2019, legislation introduced in both chambers of Congress extended protections to the LGBTQ community under the Fair Housing Act. This legislation, called the Equality Act, included the housing protections of the Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2017 and added sexual orientation and gender identity as classes protected against discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of housing. Outside of the real estate realm, the protection of these classes was also included in the areas of employment, public accommodations, voting, and credit markets.
Ohio realtors have a responsibility to uphold this law. As such, Fair Housing Month is incredibly significant because it reinforces our commitment to how we uphold the law and recognize its value to society.
What counts as discrimination in regard to the classes listed above?
- Refusal to rent or sell housing or residential lots
- Setting different terms or conditions for the sale or rental of a property
- Providing different housing based on the above classes
- Refusal of real estate brokerage services or appraisal services
- Falsely denying that residential or multifamily property is available for inspection, sale, or rent
- Engaging in blockbusting (This fear tactic involves the manipulation of homeowners/landlords to sell/rent their homes at a low price by falsely convincing them that racial or religious minorities or people of a different class are moving into their neighborhood.)
What are the penalties for violating the Fair Housing Act?
The first violation has a penalty of up to $16,000. Two violations within 5 years have a penalty of $37,500. And there is a steep penalty of $65,000 if there are three or more violations within seven years.
Which regulator is responsible for enforcing the Fair Housing Act?
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a department especially to enforce the Act. HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) works to eradicate housing discrimination while teaching and promoting civil rights and economic opportunities through housing. FHEO enforces fair housing laws and investigates potential housing discrimination. They also educate the public on federal fair housing laws.
How Can You Get Involved?
Aside from offering equal and professional Central Ohio real estate services to all who seek it from us; as realtors, there are many other things we can do to celebrate Fair Housing Declaration, this month and every month.
- Have you downloaded, printed, and agreed to the REALTOR® Fair Housing Declaration? Encourage your employees to review and accept it; consider posting it in your office for all who visit your real estate in Central Ohio to see.
- Every year, a Fair Housing poster is created for our community; display it in your office.
- HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) offers a variety of marketing and outreach tools, including anti-discrimination posters about specific discriminatory housing practices. Put them up proudly.
- Encourage your realtors to distribute publications about fair housing.
- Use your consultation time to review all properties with real estate seekers.
- Always keep an eye on Central Ohio property listings to stay up-to-date on the variety of properties listed in our area. Remember, not everyone will be seeking high-value property. Remain informed and aware of all comparable properties.
- Consider hosting a Fair Housing event. You can encourage individuals looking to invest in multifamily properties in different areas, price ranges, or with other specifications to attend unique, personal consultations in a group setting.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Learn more details, view the declaration, and print the poster by visiting… https://www.nar.realtor/fair-housing
What If You’ve Been Unfairly Discriminated Against?
If you believe you have been a victim of housing discrimination, it’s important that you report the incident. Contact the Ohio Civil Rights Commission at 1-888-278-7101. Or you may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Created in 1965, HUD is responsible for enforcing the Fair Housing Act in the U.S. You may also file a complaint with Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC). The complaints must be filed within one year from the last date of the discrimination for HUD or OCRC to investigate. If you’re outside of Ohio, check your state’s laws; most states have their own Fair Housing laws to protect classes and others protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act.
In addition, Columbus Urban League (CUL) is an excellent resource. Founded over a hundred years ago, CUL is a community‐based non‐profit organization that advocates for those who have been discriminated against. They empower individuals and groups through economic, social, and educational progress. As an affiliate of the National Urban League, CUL is one of the largest and most respected community‐centric organizations in Central Ohio.
Contact Information for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
- Call: 1-800-669-9777 (Toll-Free)
- Call: 1-800-927-9275 (TTY)
- Visit: www.hud.gov/fairhousing
Contact Information for Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC):
- Call:1-888-278-7101 (Toll-Free)
- Call: 1-614-466-2785 (Central Office in Columbus, Ohio)
- TTY: 1-614-752-2391 (Central Office in Columbus, Ohio)
- Call: 1-800-927-9275 (TTY)
Contact Information for Columbus Urban League (CUL):
- Call: 1-614- 257-6300 (Main Phone Number)
- TTY: 1-614-614-484-9110 (Emergency Assistance Program for Housing)
The Robert Weiler Company Equally Serves Central Ohio Commercial Real Estate Seekers!
At The Robert Weiler Company, the foundation of our commercial real estate company rests on everything the Fair Housing Act was built on: opportunity. Our goal is to provide investors of multifamily properties for sale and landlords who need property management services with the proper consulting; as a result, they’ll be able to make a more informed decision when purchasing a residential property, and abide by the Fair Housing laws.
(PRO TIP: If you’re considering purchasing multifamily property, be sure to avoid these 7 mistakes when investing in Ohio real estate.)
With 85 years of serving this community, we understand your needs for commercial real estate, Central Ohio; and want to help you get the value you deserve. Give us a call at 614-221-4286.