A special message to Virginia REALTORS® from Attorney General Mark Herring

Every April, we celebrate National Fair Housing Month to honor the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act in April of 1968.

Virginia REALTORS® and policy and civil rights staff from the Office of the Attorney General have forged strong relationships upon which we can call when we need reliable advice. I am proud to work with the Virginia REALTORS® on fair housing issues, including at the General Assembly and with the Real Estate Board. I thank REALTORS® for joining my office to support recent legislative efforts to increase housing non-discrimination protections.

I have worked hard to help expand the Virginia Fair Housing Law from 8 protected classes to 13 in the last two legislative sessions–adding sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, and lawful source of funds–and it now contains an explicit prohibition on municipal discrimination in land use decisions. These new protections not only promote equal access to housing, they also make good business sense.

As every REALTOR® knows, Virginia needs more safe, affordable housing for our growing population, and home seekers of all different backgrounds should be able to exercise their choices in a fair and free market.

We can all promote fair housing in our everyday lives. I have made combating housing discrimination in Virginia a top priority of my newly formed Office of Civil Rights, and my team has hit the ground running, taking up housing discrimination cases in every corner of the commonwealth. As REALTORS®, you can help, too.

Remember that fair housing is not just something we should only care about in April. The National Association of REALTORS® has gathered wonderful fair housing resources that you can use all year long.

The Virginia Real Estate Board performs the vital function of holding people accountable for housing discrimination, and I am grateful to the REALTORS® that serve on these boards.

We appreciate Virginia REALTORS®’ hand in educating the industry on its obligations under fair housing laws and look forward to working together to promote compliance with these fundamental civil rights.

I commend the REALTORS®’ continued dedication to furthering fair housing for all, and I pledge to remain a steadfast partner in our shared mission. Thank you to all Virginia REALTORS® who share my commitment to fair housing. Happy Fair Housing Month!