A Real Estate Guide to Fair Housing Law

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Fair Housing and Real Estate Discrimination, designed to help you ace your real estate exam. In this all-encompassing article, we'll dive into all things fair housing and real estate discrimination.

Knowledge of fair housing is fundamental to any real estate career. Our guide equips you to navigate and obey fair housing laws, providing all clients with equal opportunities and fair treatment.

What is Fair Housing?

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that protects buyers and renters from discrimination based on their race, religion, gender, family status, nationality, or disability. This includes redlining, which unfairly denied loans or insurance based on race, sex, or nationality. Real estate agents should be ethical and sensitive to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in housing. The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity investigates and enforces fair housing laws.

What is Real Estate Discrimination?

Real Estate Discrimination refers to discrimination against someone in housing based on their protected class status. This can take many forms but essentially means treating someone unfairly due to their race, religion, national origin, gender, or disability.

Discrimination can prevent people from finding suitable housing or force them to pay higher rent. This limits their options and prevents access to the same opportunities as others. Discrimination can take several forms, including:


Denying loans or insurance based on race, gender, or nationality is illegal and unfair. This injustice contributes to long-lasting disparities in housing, education, employment, and wealth, violating human dignity and social justice.


When real estate agents guide clients towards or away from certain neighborhoods based on race, religion, or nationality. This practice violates fair housing laws and can have a significant impact on marginalized communities. Real estate agents have a critical role in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the housing market. To uphold ethical standards out of consideration for people's sensitivities, an agent must operate with tact and empathy.


When real estate agents or developers attempt to persuade owners to sell their properties by suggesting certain groups are moving into the neighborhood. The aim of this tactic is to create panic selling and increase profits.

Panic peddling

A type of discrimination where landlords encourage owners to sell because someone from a protected class is moving into the area. This kind of advertising instills fear among the majority, belittles other communities, and violates the law.


Similar to steering, involves directing clients towards or away from properties based on their protected class status, such as race, nationality, or religion. Limiting housing options of certain individuals perpetuates stereotypes, creates social divides, and undermines fair housing principles, which restricts equal opportunities.

Fair Housing and A Discrimination-Free Real Estate Market

Fair aims to guarantee unbiased access to housing, no of race or nationality. Real estate agents play a vital role in actively promoting fair housing practices to uphold this fundamental right. This includes providing clients with comprehensive information on available properties, pricing, and details in the locations of interest. 

By doing so, we provide every potential homebuyer with an equal opportunity to find their dream home. It is crucial to prevent discriminatory practices such as only showing certain properties to specific individuals or favoring particular financial institutions. Ensuring fair housing is not only a legal responsibility but also an ethical obligation for real estate agents.

Additionally, agents should present themselves without bias and steer clear of prejudiced statements.  Real estate agents must know and closely follow Fair Housing laws, which ban discrimination against protected individuals and organizations.

For more information and resources on fair housing and real estate discrimination, visit the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Recent Articles