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The History of the Fair Housing Act: How it Changed the Face of American Living

A Diverse Group of Bloomfield Hills Renters in a Circle Looking Down at the CameraIn the late 1960s, America was in a state of turmoil. The Civil Rights Movement was at full blast, and people were fighting for equality across all walks of life. This included the right to fair housing. On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law. This act barred discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It was a big victory for the Civil Rights Movement, and it totally changed the face of American living forever. In this article, we will take a closer look at the history of the Fair Housing Act and its effects on American renters.

Civil Rights and Fair Housing

The Fair Housing Act was a direct response to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the battle for equality that was happening across the country. That act banned discrimination in public places but nevertheless did not take into consideration and address discrimination in housing. This left countless black Americans staying in awful housing conditions. The Kerner Commission, studying the civil disorders and causes of riots in US Cities in 1967, wrote, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

Perceiving that the federal government had a responsibility to address housing inequality, Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts and Representative John Conyers of Michigan sponsored an act that would speedily disallow housing discrimination. On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. The Fair Housing Act was passed by Congress on April 11, 1968, and was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on the same day.

The Fair Housing Act considered and addressed housing inequality by making it illegal to discriminate against renters based on their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It moreover fashioned or created the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO), which works to eradicate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity, and achieve diverse, inclusive communities.  FHEO is also responsible for enforcing the act.

The Impact of Fair Housing

The effects of the Fair Housing Act were fast and extensive. It opened up previously segregated neighborhoods to minorities. It similarly made it simple for families of all income levels to locate safe and affordable housing. The act has been recognized as reducing poverty and improving educational outcomes for children inhabiting and living in low-income households.

The Fair Housing Act has been amended several times since it was first passed. The newest amendment, passed in 1988, expanded the definition of “family” to include unmarried couples and people with disabilities. It also strengthened the enforcement provisions of the act.

The Fair Housing Act and You

The Fair Housing Act is one of the most significant pieces of legislation in American history. It has helped devise a more equal and just society by making certain everyone has access to safe and affordable housing. If you’re a renter in the United States, it’s relevant to understand your rights under the Fair Housing Act. A few of the rights the Fair Housing Act protects count some of these:

  • The right to choose a housing option without discrimination
  • The right to stay in a safe and nice housing environment
  • The right to fair treatment throughout the housing search process
  • The right to not be rejected for housing based on your income

If you know that you’ve been discriminated against, you can file a complaint with HUD under the FHEO. You can additionally get in touch with a fair housing organization in your area for aid.


To best protect your rights, it’s further essential to work with landlords and property managers who certainly know and follow fair housing laws. Real Property Management Main has a long history of commitment to fair housing. Browse our listings online to find prime rental homes in Bloomfield Hills.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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