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What is the Fair Housing Act?

If you are on the board of directors for a homeowner’s association, your organization must remain in compliance with the Fair Housing Act. This legislation makes it illegal for direct providers of housing and related organizations, including HOAs, to institute and enforce discriminatory housing practices.

The Fair Housing Act, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s national origin, familial status, sex, religion, race or color. When drafting rules and policies for your HOA, there are certain actions you must avoid to remain in compliance with this act.

Prohibited actions

Most of the prohibited actions your HOA should watch out for include those related to the sale or rental of a property. For example, your HOA cannot harass a real estate owner if he or she belongs to a protected class or participate in actions that force him or her to vacate or sell the property. Your HOA must also avoid retaliatory actions against those in a protected class.

Drafting policies and rules

When drafting rules and policies for your HOA, you must not include statutes that discriminate against those in your community based on race, religion, gender, familial status, etc. You should also watch out for policies that could inadvertently result in discrimination or harassment on behalf of your HOA.

You should regularly review the policies and rules included in your HOA’s documentation to ensure they comply with the statutes in the Fair Housing Act. Engaging in actions that go against the statutes in this act could result in legal complications for your organization and community.