Fair Housing

In the United States, the fair housing (also open housing) policies date largely from the 1960s. Originally, the terms fair housing and open housing came from a political movement of the time to outlaw discrimination in the rental or purchase of homes and a broad range of other housing-related transactions, such as advertising, mortgage lending, homeowner's insurance and zoning. Later, the same language was used in laws. In April 1968, at the urging of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Congress passed the federal Fair Housing Act (codified at 42 U.S.C. 3601-3619, penalties for violation at 42 U.S.C. 3631), Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, only one week after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The primary purpose of the Fair Housing Law of 1968 is to protect the buyer/renter of a dwelling from seller/landlord discrimination. Its primary prohibition makes it unlawful to refuse to sell, rent to, or negotiate with any person because of that person's inclusion in a protected class. The goal is a unitary housing market in which a person's background (as opposed to financial resources) does not arbitrarily restrict access. Calls for open housing were issued early in the twentieth century, but it was not until after World War II that concerted efforts to achieve it were undertaken.

Read more about Fair Housing:  Up To 1968, Open Housing Since 1968, A Case Study in Local Fair Housing: Seattle, Washington, Criticism

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