Fifty years ago on April 11, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Title VIII of that legislation, known as the Fair Housing Act, ensures equal access to housing for all. Texas REALTORS® are celebrating the anniversary of act throughout the month of April. Here’s a quick look at what the Fair Housing Act means for you.

It protects everyone

The act protects you and everyone else from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap—those are called the seven protected classes.

What the act means …

Sellers and landlords can’t discriminate in the sale or rental of property on the basis of someone’s race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. They also can’t tell their agents to limit the availability of property based on the same seven classes, establish terms or conditions in the purchase or rental that are discriminatory, or advertise that the property is available only to people of a certain race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap.

Where to report a violation

If you think you’ve been the victim of a Fair Housing Act violation, report it to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 800-669-9777.

There may be other protections in your area

Local laws may expand upon the classes covered by federal law. San Antonio, for example, prohibits discrimination based on veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. And Austin adds sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, student status, and age.

REALTORS® go beyond what the law requires

Even if you’re not in a community with expanded fair housing protections, REALTORS® pledge to do more not to discriminate based on someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

Talk to your REALTOR® if you have concerns about fair housing.