The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2024

Understanding your Fair Housing Rights

Submitted information

COLUMBUS – As the spring temperatures and housing market warm up, the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing (REPL) encourages first-time homebuyers to take advantage of April being Fair Housing Month by becoming acquainted with federal and state fair housing laws.

“Fair Housing Month is a great opportunity to remind buyers who are new to the real estate process that the more they know, the easier the process will be for them to navigate,” REPL Superintendent Daphne Hawk said.

First-time homebuyers accounted for 33 percent of market activity in Ohio last year, according to a study conducted by Ohio Realtors in partnership with REPL.

Ohio and federal law both prohibit discrimination in the buying, selling, or renting of real estate based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. Ohio law also prohibits discrimination based on ancestry or military status. Fair housing law covers discrimination in the offering, showing, selling, and renting of homes, apartments, condominiums and cooperatives.

“Generally, it’s rare for an Ohio real estate agent or appraiser to have a fair housing complaint. Often times, discrimination occurs in rental housing because landlords may not fully understand their obligations under the law.” Hawk said. “It’s extremely important that property owners know what the law is, which is why we encourage them to access our Landlord’s Property Management Guide. This guide not only connects property owners with a range of fair housing resources, it also can help them find licensed property managers who may be a good fit to manage their properties.”

In 2022, there were more than 33,000 complaints filed in the U.S. with private fair housing organizations, local and state Fair Housing Assistance Program agencies, and HUD. This includes more than 2,200 complaints filed in Ohio, a majority of which were disability-related complaints.

The Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing may take action against a licensee if they are found to have engaged in unlawful discriminatory practices. Anyone who feels that he or she has been discriminated against is urged to contact the Ohio Civil Rights Commission or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Licensees have an obligation to notify the REPL superintendent immediately if they have been found to have violated laws pertaining to discrimination in housing and/or housing accommodations.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency provides virtual and in-person trainings for real estate agents on fair housing laws. Titled “Fair Housing Foundations,” the class takes a historical view of fair housing and civil rights as well as reviewing current housing, advertising and lending laws. Real estate agents participating in the class can receive three hours of civil rights credit. A list of upcoming classes is available here.

For more information on fair housing resources, Ohioans can access the Division’s consumer guide at com.ohio.gov/FairHousingGuide.

POSTED: 04/16/24 at 7:45 pm. FILED UNDER: Real Estate