Fair Housing Policy

WV REALTY INC. - FAIR HOUSING POLICY

WV Realty Inc. is committed to equal opportunity and non-discrimination in all aspects of the housing related services they provide. The Company expressly prohibits any form of discrimination based on a person's actual or perceived gender (including gender identity), race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, lawful occupation, presence of children, sexual orientation, marital status, partnership status, citizenship status, lawful source of income or any other factor illegal under federal, state or city law (any of which is an "Unlawful Category"). Any discrimination based on an Unlawful Category by agents or employees in the performance of their expected job duties will not be tolerated and will subject the agent or employee to appropriate disciplinary or other measures.


Fair Housing Rights And Obligations

It is illegal to discriminate in the sale or rental of housing, including against individuals seeking a mortgage or housing assistance, or in other housing-related activities. The Fair Housing Act prohibits this discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. A variety of other federal civil rights laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, prohibit discrimination in housing and community development programs and activities, particularly those that are assisted with HUD funding. These civil rights laws include obligations such as taking reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) and taking appropriate steps to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities through the provision of appropriate auxiliary aids and services. Various federal fair housing and civil rights laws require HUD and its program participants to affirmatively further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act.

HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) works to eliminate housing discrimination and promote civil rights and economic opportunity through housing. FHEO enforces fair housing laws. One of its roles is to investigate complaints of housing discrimination. If you believe you have been discriminated against in violation of any of these federal fair housing laws, you can file a complaint with FHEO.


The Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities. Additional protections apply to federally-assisted housing.


History of Fair Housing

On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which was meant as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 1968 Act expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap and family status. Title VIII of the Act is also known as the Fair Housing Act (of 1968).

The enactment of the federal Fair Housing Act on April 11, 1968 came only after a long and difficult journey. From 1966-1967, Congress regularly considered the fair housing bill, but failed to garner a strong enough majority for its passage. However, when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson utilized this national tragedy to urge for the bill's speedy Congressional approval. Since the 1966 open housing marches in Chicago, Dr. King's name had been closely associated with the fair housing legislation. President Johnson viewed the Act as a fitting memorial to the man's life work, and wished to have the Act passed prior to Dr. King's funeral in Atlanta.

Another significant issue during this time period was the growing casualty list from Vietnam. The deaths in Vietnam fell heaviest upon young, poor African-American and Hispanic infantrymen. However, on the home front, these men's families could not purchase or rent homes in certain residential developments on account of their race or national origin. Specialized organizations like the NAACP, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the GI Forum, and the National Committee Against Discrimination In Housing lobbied hard for the Senate to pass the Fair Housing Act and remedy this inequity. Senators Edward Brooke and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts argued deeply for the passage of this legislation. In particular, Senator Brooke, the first African-American ever to be elected to the Senate by popular vote, spoke personally of his return from World War II and inability to provide a home of his choice for his new family because of his race.

With the cities rioting after Dr. King's assassination, and destruction mounting in every part of the United States, the words of President Johnson and Congressional leaders rang the Bell of Reason for the House of Representatives, who subsequently passed the Fair Housing Act. Without debate, the Senate followed the House in its passage of the Act, which President Johnson then signed into law.

The power to appoint the first officials administering the Act fell upon President Johnson's successor, Richard Nixon. President Nixon tapped then Governor of Michigan, George Romney, for the post of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. While serving as Governor, Secretary Romney had successfully campaigned for ratification of a state constitutional provision that prohibited discrimination in housing. President Nixon also appointed Samuel Simmons as the first Assistant Secretary for Equal Housing Opportunity.

When April 1969 arrived, HUD could not wait to celebrate the Act's 1st Anniversary. Within that inaugural year, HUD completed the Title VIII Field Operations Handbook, and instituted a formalized complaint process. In truly festive fashion, HUD hosted a gala event in the Grand Ballroom of New York's Plaza Hotel. From across the nation, advocates and politicians shared in this marvelous evening, including one of the organizations that started it all -- the National Committee Against Discrimination In Housing.

In subsequent years, the tradition of celebrating Fair Housing Month grew larger and larger. Governors began to issue proclamations that designated April as "Fair Housing Month," and schools across the country sponsored poster and essay contests that focused upon fair housing issues. Regional winners from these contests often enjoyed trips to Washington, DC for events with HUD and their Congressional representatives.

Under former Secretaries James T. Lynn and Carla Hills, with the cooperation of the National Association of Homebuilders, National Association of Realtors, and the American Advertising Council these groups adopted fair housing as their theme and provided "free" billboard space throughout the nation. These large 20-foot by 14-foot billboards placed the fair housing message in neighborhoods, industrial centers, agrarian regions and urban cores. Every region also had its own celebrations, meetings, dinners, contests and radio-television shows that featured HUD, state and private fair housing experts and officials. These celebrations continue the spirit behind the original passage of the Act, and are remembered fondly by those who were there from the beginning.


Who Is Protected?

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:

What Types of Housing Are Covered?

The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In very limited circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent, and housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.


What Is Prohibited?

In the Sale and Rental of Housing:

It is illegal discrimination to take any of the following actions because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin:

In Mortgage Lending:

It is illegal discrimination to take any of the following actions based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin:

Harassment:

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to harass persons because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. Among other things, this forbids sexual harassment.

Other Prohibitions:

In addition, it is illegal discrimination to:

Additional Protections For Persons With Disabilities:

Housing providers must make reasonable accommodations and allow reasonable modifications that may be necessary to allow persons with disabilities to enjoy their housing.

Certain multifamily housing must be accessible to persons with disabilities.

Coverage

This policy covers all Company employees and agents without exception. The Company will not tolerate, condone or allow discrimination, whether engaged in by clients, employees, agents. independent contractors or other non-employees who conduct business with the Company. While the Company's ability to control clients and third parties is limited, this does not diminish the obligation of the Company's agents and employees to comply with the law and this Policy.


Education and Procedures

The Company engages in periodic training of employees and agents on the anti-discrimination laws and has had prepared the attached summary of the pertinent anti-discrimination laws covering the Company's activities as manager, sales, and leasing agent of housing. It requires all managers and sales and leasing agents to review the laws. Any questions or issues concerning discrimination should be addressed to the Company's in house counsel; reports and complaints will be kept confidential to the fullest extent possible without impairing the Company's obligations to comply with the law. Where necessary, the Company may employ an outside lawyer or consultant to investigate a question and provide guidance in handling the matter.


Retalliation Prohibited

The Company will not in any way retaliate against an individual who makes a report of discrimination or provides information concerning such actions nor will it permit any employee or agent to do so. Retaliation is a serious violation of this policy and should be reported immediately. Any person found to have retaliated against another individual for reporting unlawful discrimination will be subject to the same disciplinary action provided for offenders.