While searching for a home, you may have come across the phrase Equal Housing Opportunity. You may also see it as Equal Opportunity Housing. These two phrases are one and the same and are the foundation of federal laws that prevent lenders, real estate agents, and even landlords from discrimination.
What Does Equal Housing Opportunity Mean?
In a previous article, we discussed the Fair Housing Act, which was signed into law in 1968. The law prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, disabilities, family status, sexual orientation, and gender. Equal Housing Opportunity affirms the Fair Housing Act and states that everyone must be treated fairly in financial decisions related to housing including applying for a mortgage, appraisals, and inspections.
As part of laws aimed at creating an Equal Housing Opportunity, homebuyers cannot be discriminated against during the homebuying process based on race, color, national origin, religion, disabilities, family status, sexual orientation, and gender. Other protected characteristics include:
- Military Status
- Use of public assistance programs such as social security
- State laws
Who Enforces Fair Housing Laws?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is tasked with regulating all laws that pertain to Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Housing. The department has an Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) that provides guidance and training to lenders and customers. In addition, the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) enforces the Fair Housing Act and oversees agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
Laws Governing Equal Opportunities in Housing
Here is a look at several important pieces of civil rights legislation that relate to equal housing opportunities.
- Civil Rights Act of 1866
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Fair Housing Act
- Equal Credit Opportunity Act
- Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
For more information on Fair Housing and related laws, please CLICK HERE.
Equal Housing Opportunity. Axia Home Loans is a registered tradename of Axia Financial, LLC. NMLS 27830.