Fair Housing Law Basics

The Virginia Fair Housing Law was established in 1972, and it has been amended over the years to include additional protected classes. Currently, there are 12 protected classes in Virginia’s Fair Housing Law.

What is a protected class?

A protected class in fair housing law refers to a group of individuals who are legally protected from discrimination in housing based on certain characteristics or attributes. The purpose of establishing protected classes is to ensure that all individuals have equal access to housing opportunities and are not unfairly discriminated against based on their personal characteristics. Discrimination against a protected class in the housing market is illegal and can result in civil penalties, fines, and even criminal charges.

What are the protected classes in Virginia?

The 12 protected classes in Virginia’s Fair Housing Law include: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and source of income.

Virginia REALTORS® has been actively involved in establishing and promoting these protected classes, the most recent being added in 2021. The association has long been committed to ensuring that all Virginians have equal access to housing, regardless of their background or circumstances.

How can REALTORS® practice navigating scenarios where they can address and prevent discrimination in their business?

Virginia REALTORS® offers NAR’s Fairhaven Training free of charge to members. Click here to learn more!