Fair housing is a simple concept, but real-life scenarios can make following the rules complicated. Answer these questions to see how well you understand the Fair Housing Act, and check out “Fair housing is for everyone” for a timeline of milestones leading to the act, how the act affects your business, and why you’re required to do more than the law says.

Scroll to the bottom for the answers.

1. True or false? It’s a fair housing violation to advertise that a property is “an easy walk to neighborhood shops” because it discriminates against people with disabilities.

2. True or false? You can request that potential tenants provide a photo ID as part of their rental applications.

3. True or false? You can list property for a client who wants to sell his property only to buyers of one religion if the client puts his instructions in writing.

4. True or false? If buyer clients ask you about the racial makeup of a school district, you are allowed to say, “Your kids will fit in just fine.”



  1. False. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has indicated that ads containing descriptions of properties (e.g., fourth-floor walk-up), services or facilities (jogging trails), or neighborhoods (walk to bus stop) do not violate the Fair Housing Act.
  2. True. However, you must require photo IDs from all applicants and must only use applicants’ photo IDs to verify their identity and/or to check on criminal history, rental history, or credit history. You cannot use a photo ID to discriminate against an applicant.
  3. False. Written instructions do not exempt you from fair housing laws, which prohibit discrimination in residential housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status.
  4. False. Tell the clients that the Fair Housing Act prohibits you from providing that kind of information. Suggest they contact the school district or look online for information about a school or district.