Know Your Rights
The home seller, the home seeker, and the real estate professional all have rights and responsibilities under the law.
For the Home Seller:
As a home seller or landlord you have a responsibility and a requirement under the law not to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. You cannot instruct the licensed broker or salesperson acting as your agent to convey for you any limitations in the sale or rental because the real estate professional is also bound by law not to discriminate.
For the Home Seeker:
You have the right to expect that housing will be available to you without discrimination or other limitations based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
This includes the right to expect:
- Housing in your price range made available to you without discrimination
- Equal professional service
- The opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices
- No discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing
- No discrimination in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing
- Reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities
The Fair Housing Act requires property owners and managers to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. Assistance animals — such as guide dogs for the blind and emotional support animals for those suffering from PTSD or depression — are legitimate needs for people with disabilities. If a tenant requests permission for an assistance animal, the landlord must entertain this request to avoid violating state and federal fair housing laws. Sometimes, the disability-related need for an assistance animal is not readily apparent or known to the landlord. In those cases, Virginia law allows the landlord to evaluate the requester’s disability-related need for the animal (Va. Code § 36-96.3:1(B)). NVAR offers several forms to assist members as they navigate the process. Members with questions can contact the NVAR Legal Hotline.
- Non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling
- To be free from harassment or intimidation for exercising your fair housing rights
For the Real Estate Professional:
Agents in a real estate transaction are prohibited by law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. A request from the home seller or landlord to act in a discriminatory manner in the sale, lease or rental cannot legally be fulfilled by the real estate professional.