When we talk about fair housing it is usually about rental properties. There are national laws, State laws, and local laws against discrimination based on the following:
- Familial Status (having kids or being pregnant)
- Public Assistance (MFIP, EA, GA, SSI, etc.) (Minnesota)
- Sexual Orientation (Minnesota)
- Marital Status (being married, single or divorced) (Minnesota)
- National Origin
- Creed (belief or faith) (Minnesota)
- Age (St. Paul only)
It is possible to discriminate against home buyers. As a real estate agent, I can not participate. There are homeowners who do discriminate. There are multiple offer situations where the buyer wrote the love letter to the sellers and the sellers really liked the idea of a family with children living in the house.
The neighbors in a condo association will tell me that they want me to make sure that whoever buys the condo is a good neighbor.
I have also seen a couple of examples of “pre-listed” or “coming soon” homes where the home was “pre-marketed” but only to a certain group of people. The end result was a buyer who was a perfect fit for the neighborhood at least in the eyes of the homeowner and the neighbors. There isn’t any way of knowing who else might have wanted to buy the place.
I would be violating fair housing laws by recommending a neighborhood. I know that seems far fetched but the government doesn’t want people like me steering home buyers to one neighborhood or another. I can answer questions about neighborhoods.
Housing discrimination does not have to be intentional to be illegal and is more common than most people believe.
St. Paul is segregated. I think the reasons are more complicated than illegal discrimination. Why is it that St. Paul is all one school district but we have good schools and some not so good schools?