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

A Diverse Group of Eatontown Renters in a Circle Looking Down at the CameraIn the late 1960s, America was in a state of uproar. The Civil Rights Movement was at its height, and people were fiercely 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 strictly prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It was a huge win for the Civil Rights Movement, and it truly 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 serious fight for equality that was transpiring across the country. That act condemned discrimination in public places but did not take care of discrimination in housing. This left quite a lot of black Americans to keep living in low-grade 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.”

Apprehending 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 right away prohibit 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 took care of housing inequality by establishing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO), which works to prevent 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 quick and all-inclusive. It opened up previously segregated neighborhoods to minorities. It, in like manner, made it very easy for families of all income levels to obtain safe and affordable housing. The act has been acknowledged as reducing poverty and improving educational outcomes for children residing 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 effectively strengthened the enforcement provisions of the act.

The Fair Housing Act and You

The Fair Housing Act is one of the most crucial pieces of legislation in American history. It has helped put together 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 critical to determine your rights under the Fair Housing Act. Just some of the rights the Fair Housing Act protects include:

  • The right to choose a housing option without discrimination
  • The right to be in a safe and great housing environment
  • The right to fair treatment in the whole housing search process
  • The right to not be declined in the housing based on your income

If you perceive that you’ve been discriminated against, you can act swiftly and file a complaint with HUD under the FHEO. You can furthermore contact a fair housing organization in your area for aid and assistance.


To best protect your rights, it’s moreover vital to work with landlords and property managers who have real knowledge of and follow fair housing laws. Real Property Management Performance has a long history of commitment to fair housing. Browse our listings online to acquire quality and excellent rental homes in Eatontown.

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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