Unit 7: Key Points >

These are the most important points for you to remember in this unit.

Fair Housing Laws

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibits discrimination based on race only.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to implement the law.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1968 (The Fair Housing Act) prohibited discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status. It is enforced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
    • The Act includes single-family homes that are not privately owned; privately owned homes if a broker is used in the transaction; houses owned by a person who owns four or more houses; or houses owned by a person who sells two or more houses belonging to others in a two-year period. It also covers multifamily housing—any building or complex with four or more units, and all multifamily units if none of the units is occupied by the owner.
    • The Act prohibits discrimination in sales, leasing, advertising sales or rentals, financing or brokerage services. The prohibited acts of discrimination are
      • refusing to rent to, sell to, or deal with a person,
      • quoting different terms or conditions for buying or renting,
      • steering—advertising that housing is available to only people of certain races, colors, sex, religion, or national origin, family status or handicap; guiding home seekers into any neighborhood based on discrimination,
      • making any false statement about the availability of housing,
      • block-busting is making statements that a minority group may move into a neighborhood with the intent of persuading an owner to sell,
      • redlining is the act of a lender or insurance company denying loans or presenting different terms or conditions for certain neighborhoods, and
      • denying membership in a broker’s group concerned with the sale or rental of housing.
  • The Housing for Older Persons Act allows certain communities to refuse to allow children to reside on the property. In order to qualify for this status, at least 80 percent of the units must have one or more persons who are at least 55 years old.

Other Federal Laws

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disability in places of public accommodations and in commercial facilities.
  • The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, such as walking, seeing, hearing, learning, breathing, caring for oneself, or working.
  • New construction and alterations must comply with the ADA. Existing structures must be made accessible when that goal is readily achievable, meaning that the goal can be achieved without great difficulty or expense.

The Florida Landlord and Tenant Act

  • With respect to security deposits and advance rents, the owner may
    • hold the money in a separate, non-interest-bearing account, or
    • hold the money in a separate interest-bearing account, and pay the tenant at least 75% of the average interest, or a straight 5%, or
    • commingle the funds if he/she posts a surety bond with the clerk of the court for the total amount of security deposits and advance rents ( or $50,000, whichever is less), and pays the tenant 5% annual simple interest. This is an option available to an owner only, never to a broker.
  • When a tenant vacates the premises, the landlord has 15 days to return the security deposit.
  • If the landlord intends to impose a claim on the deposit, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing within 30 days.
  • If a tenant fails to pay after receiving a “3-day notice to pay rent”, the landlord must give written notice demanding possession of the premises.
  • The landlord must file a complaint for eviction in county court. The tenant is allowed five business days to file a reply.
  • After the landlord receives a final judgment against the tenant, the clerk issues a “writ of possession” allowing the sheriff to evict the tenant.
  • Eviction begins 24 hours after the sheriff has served notice to the tenant.