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April is National Fair Housing Month: Here’s the History Behind It

April is National Fair Housing Month! This year, we celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11, 1968. Follow along as we go over the history of Fair Housing, its importance for rental owners, and meaningful ways to talk about and celebrate National Fair Housing Month. 


Contents of This Article:

What Is National Fair Housing Month?

National Fair Housing Month occurs every April to recognize the passing of the Fair Housing Act and increase efforts to end housing discrimination. Additionally, the month recognizes the critical contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the Civil Rights Movement.

On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination in selling, renting, and financing housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, and family status. 

This year, the Fair Housing Act celebrates its 55th anniversary, continuing to protect Americans from housing discrimination. Read along as we touch on the history behind Fair Housing laws and the importance of Fair Housing for rental owners, tenants, and property management companies in Washington DC

The History Behind Fair Housing Laws

The enactment of the federal Fair Housing Act came after a long, challenging journey. Years before the Act was passed, Congress considered the fair housing bill but never got a strong enough majority to pass it. However, when Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson quickly urged Congress to pass the Fair Housing Act. 


Dr. King’s name was closely associated with the fair housing legislation, and President Johnson viewed the Act as a memorial to his work to achieve equal rights. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also helped bring about the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act, commonly known as the Fair Housing Act, prohibited discrimination based on race, religion, and national origin. However, in 1974, the Fair Housing Act was amended to prohibit discrimination based on sex and amended again in 1988 to include people with disabilities and families with children. Then, in 2021, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes. 

Before the Fair Housing Act, many people faced damaging housing discrimination, primarily in minority neighborhoods that were located far from public transportation, jobs, and quality school systems. Since the passing of the Act, the real estate industry has come a long way. However, there’s still work to be done, as housing discrimination still happens today

Importance of Fair Housing for Rental Owners

Most rental owners know about Fair Housing Laws and the importance of eliminating discrimination in rental housing. After all, as a landlord, you’re responsible for following all rules and guidelines under the Act. You may be subjected to significant fines and other potential consequences if you’re found violating the Fair Housing Act. 

Marketing, screening, and communication with tenants must be done professionally and without discrimination when renting properties. Additionally, as a landlord, you have several responsibilities, rules, and guidelines to follow under the Fair Housing Act. For instance, it’s your job to: 

  • Provide tenants with fair and equal housing.
  • Treat each prospective tenant equally and give everyone a chance to apply for your rentals.
  • Avoid discriminatory advertising phases, like “families only” or “no children.”
  • Allow reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.
  • Avoid any retaliatory behavior.
  • Know the Fair Housing Act through and through, and work with an attorney or property management company to ensure your practices are legal and compliant.

Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Fair Housing Month

The Fair Housing Act is an integral part of the real estate industry. All real estate professionals must practice Fair Housing Laws every day. But how can you advocate for fair housing and celebrate Fair Housing Month meaningfully? Here are three ideas. 


  • Talk About the History of Fair Housing
  • Advocate for Fair Housing
  • Support Fair Housing Enforcement

Learn About the History of Fair Housing

Educating yourself on the topic is the first step to advocating for fair housing. As a real estate professional, tenant, or homebuyer, it’s important to know about the history of discrimination, barriers to fair housing, and how discrimination still happens today. 

Not everyone knows about housing discrimination in the past or how it affected some Americans looking for housing. So, one way you can bring awareness is by arranging or hosting seminars. Gather people in your industry, let them know about ongoing discrimination issues, and encourage them to voice against housing discrimination. 

Advocate for Fair Housing

If you’re looking to get more involved in promoting fair housing in your community, look for advocacy groups. For instance, the Fair Housing Center for Rights & Research works to expand fair housing rights, eliminate segregation, and encourage integrated communities. 

You can keep up with their work, learn more about fair housing, advocate for fair housing amongst other real estate professionals, and encourage anyone experiencing discrimination to file a fair housing complaint. 

Support Fair Housing Enforcement

There are plenty of ways to bring more awareness to fair housing enforcement. For instance, you can show your support with a donation or encourage those facing housing discrimination to stand up for themselves. No support or action is too small when it comes to advocating for fair housing–anything helps!

Ensure Compliance With Property Management

National Fair Housing Month is an important time to look at your business practices and processes. Additionally, it’s an excellent time to learn more about the history of the Fair Housing Act and continue to prevent discrimination in housing. After all, if you own rentals or want to start a rental business, you must become well-versed in Fair Housing practices. 

To ensure compliance in all your rental properties, it helps to have a comprehensive rental management team on your side. With well-versed property managers, you can ensure fair rental housing from the screening process to the move-out process. 

Need More Advice? contact us today!

Bay Property Management Group offers full-service rental management for rentals near Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can ensure compliance in all your rental properties.