NNRMLS Recognizes Fair Housing Month 2023 - NNRMLS.com

Northern Nevada Regional Multiple Listing Service (NNRMLS) Celebrates Fair Housing Month 2023

Each April, communities, advocates, and organizations nationwide commemorate the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. As a multiple listing service, NNRMLS recognizes the importance of Fair Housing Month, which is why we’re highlighting the history and impact and providing resources to learn more. NNRMLS believes everyone deserves equal opportunities to achieve the dream of home ownership.

“Fair housing is not an option; it is a right.” – National Association of REALTORS®

What is an MLS, and how does it support fair housing?

A multiple listing service (MLS) maintains a centralized database containing information on properties for sale. It promotes collaboration and information exchange between agents and brokers, expanding the pool of potential buyers and streamlining property matching for buyers and sellers. Utilized by real estate professionals, the MLS is a valuable resource for assisting clients in property transactions. By fostering competition within the industry, MLSs facilitate a fair and equitable marketplace where even small brokerages can compete with larger firms. This allows buyers and sellers to select their preferred real estate professional while maintaining access to the most comprehensive range of available properties. Therefore: MLSs provide equal opportunity for all home buyers and sellers by providing maximum market exposure.

Fair Housing Act History

The following is excerpted from a HUD.gov article: On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which was meant as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 1968 Act expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap and family status. Title VIII of the Act is also known as the Fair Housing Act (of 1968).

The enactment of the federal Fair Housing Act on April 11, 1968, came only after a long and difficult journey. From 1966-1967, Congress regularly considered the fair housing bill but failed to garner a strong enough majority for its passage. However, when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson utilized this national tragedy to urge for the bill’s speedy Congressional approval. Since the 1966 open housing marches in Chicago, Dr. King’s name had been closely associated with the fair housing legislation. President Johnson viewed the Act as a fitting memorial to the man’s life work, and wished to have the Act passed prior to Dr. King’s funeral in Atlanta.

Another significant issue during this time period was the growing casualty list from Vietnam. The deaths in Vietnam fell heavily upon young, poor African-American and Hispanic infantrymen. However, on the home front, these men’s families could not purchase or rent homes in certain residential developments on account of their race or national origin. Specialized organizations like the NAACP, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the GI Forum, and the National Committee Against Discrimination In Housing lobbied hard for the Senate to pass the Fair Housing Act and remedy this inequity. Senators Edward Brooke and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts argued deeply for the passage of this legislation. In particular, Senator Brooke, the first African-American ever to be elected to the Senate by popular vote, spoke personally of his return from World War II and his inability to provide a home of his choice for his new family because of his race.

Subsequently, in 1968 the House of Representatives passed the Fair Housing Act, and without debate, the Senate followed the House in its passage of the Act, which President Johnson then signed into law.

Impact

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has administered and enforced the Fair Housing Act since its passage, allowing victims of illegal housing practices to file complaints or lawsuits. The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) investigates discrimination complaints filed with HUD. This step toward fair housing has significantly protected individuals’ housing rights.

Organizations nationwide have incorporated Fair Housing into their policies. In 1975, the National Association of REALTORS® agreed with HUD to promote fair housing, educate members, develop procedures, and participate in community-based fair housing activities.

According to a 2018 article by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, though progress has been made, many challenges to fair housing remain. There are still racial disparities in homeownership and wealth. In 1968, 65.9% of white families owned their homes, a rate that was 25% higher than the 41.1% of black families that owned their homes. Today, the black homeownership rate has not changed, while the rate of white homeownership has increased five percentage points to 71.1%. These homeownership disparities contribute to the racial wealth gap in America. In 2017, the typical white family held ten times the amount of wealth as the typical black family ($171,000 for whites to $17,409 for blacks, on average). These numbers have worsened since 1968 and point to the fact that housing discrimination continues to determine life outcomes.

The National Association of REALTORS® and Fair Housing Month

Excerpted from NAR’s Fair Housing webpage: Real estate professionals and consumers depend on strong fair housing laws and practices for our communities and economy to thrive. Discrimination distorts the housing market and closes the door on the American dream of homeownership for qualified buyers. At NAR, we advance our commitment to fair housing through policy advocacy, innovative programming, and legal guidance.

During Fair Housing Month, NAR encourages REALTORS® to participate in events and activities that promote fair housing and equal opportunity for all. The 2023 theme for Fair Housing Month is “Fair Housing: More Than Just Words,” emphasizing the importance of understanding and abiding by the principles of fair housing in the real estate industry. Participate in events.

Resources

NAR Fair Housing webpage
NAR 2023 Fair Housing Month toolkit and poster
NAR Fair Housing Month webpage
NAR Fair Housing Month Events
Fair Housing Film and Video Recommendations
NAR Window to the Law: Advertising Within the Fair Housing Framework (2022 video)
HUD legal resources, fair housing FAQs, and other resources
Washoe County Fair Housing resources and information
Silver State Fair Housing Council
Fair Housing in Nevada (HUD)
The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
NAR Fair Housing Education and Outreach Grant Program
NAR Fairhaven, an immersive simulation training for REALTORS® to identify and prevent discriminatory practices