Basic human rights are the backbone of a free and pluralistic society. Without them, there can never be hope of equality and fairness. How can a society claim to be free when segments of the population are treated poorly? When certain races, or religions, or nationalities are not given the same rights as other races, religions, or nationalities, that society is not free.
In regards to human rights, when it comes to mortgages and housing, there is one landmark national act that defined today’s America. The Fair Housing Act of 1968. That was followed by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, which defined a “equal housing lender” and required the use of the term equal housing lender as well as the equal housing lender to appear in all advertising. These are landmark civil rights cases. Civil rights roll right into human rights.
I’ll talk about the Fair Housing Act in a second, but I want to put some personal background to this. My parents once told me about the deed to their home on Detroit’s Northwest side that they found when they bought it in the early 60s. The deed was a legal document that made it plain and clear that the house, under no circumstances, could be sold to anyone who was (please keep in mind this list is from memory, but this is what I remember my father telling me) Armenian, Syrian, African-American, Jewish and Oriental. That blows my mind and is so far from what I understand as the world of housing and mortgages today. But that’s how it was. If you were black, you weren’t going to live in that house. End of story. Same for Jewish people and everyone else on that list. That was the law and that’s how it was.
Which brings me to the Fair Housing Act and the Fair Housing Amendments Act. These acts were created to protect Americans and others living in our great country from unfair treatment. They were created because for decades deeds like the one on my parents’ house were written to keep people out. The acts were written because people were treating other Americans unfairly, and that’s wrong. Plain and simple.
Here’s a little background on the Fair Housing Act and the Fair Housing Amendments Act from Wikipedia:
The Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) introduced meaningful federal enforcement mechanisms. It outlawed:
- Refusal to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
- Discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in the terms, conditions or privilege of the sale or rental of a dwelling.
- Advertising the sale or rental of a dwelling indicating preference of discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin.
- Coercing, threatening, intimidating, or interfering with a person’s enjoyment or exercise of housing rights based on discriminatory reasons or retaliating against a person or organization that aids or encourages the exercise or enjoyment of fair housing rights.
When the Fair Housing Act was first enacted, it prohibited discrimination only on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. In 1988, disability and familial status (the presence or anticipated presence of children under 18 in a household) were added (further codified in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).
The Fair Housing Act applies to landlords renting or leasing space in their primary residence only if the residence contains living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by three or more other families living independently of each other, such as an owner-occupied rooming house.
The terms equal housing lender and equal opportunity lender are synonymous and refer to all banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in the United States. Such banks are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status. They are required, in all advertisements of home loan related services, to explicitly use one of these two terms in describing themselves, or to use one of several approved logos.
This rule was introduced in the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 which amended the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
So there it is. In celebration of Blog Action Day, Quicken Loans and the Zing blog recognize the Fair Housing Act and Fair Housing Amendments Act for their importance in protecting the basic human rights of all residents of the U.S.
I don’t want to go back to the days of deeds that were ridiculously exclusive and depriving to so many people. Today is better than it was. Quicken Loans would never dream of treating someone differently based on their color, sex, creed, religion, etc. It’s not in our DNA. I’m happy for that.