Change Afoot | Urban Living
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Change Afoot



This is a time of potentially great change in our country. As members of the National Association of Realtors, we abide by the federal fair housing laws when helping folks buy and or sell properties of any type in Utah, no matter our client's race, color, religion, sex, sexual preference, disability, familial status or national origin. We are committed to finding ways to end racism and break exploitative economic barriers that keep people from purchasing or even renting affordable housing.

In the 1930s, there was a map of the Salt Lake Valley drawn by the federal government with red lines around neighborhoods that were deemed "risky" for federal mortgage loans such as FHA and VA loans. The maps specifically noted where "Negroes" lived and those were the areas that were redlined. The result was that people of color could not get a mortgage as well as a student loan, credit cards or insurance if they lived in redlined neighborhoods. In 1968, the Fair Housing Act was passed under revisions of the Civil Rights Act, and it wiped out discrimination in neighborhoods based on the racial composition. Any institution practicing redlining after that time would be in violation of federal law. And there were 238 cities in addition to Salt Lake City that had their own redline maps.

I sold my first condominium in Rose Park in 1984. The CCRs (rules and regulations of the homeowners association) at that time stated that a person of the "Negroid race" could not own a unit in the project. We complained to the HOA and the language was removed, and the buyer proceeded with the purchase.

A few years later, I sold a home in the Avenues area with the following language on the property deed: "This property can never be sold to a person that is Japanese or related to a Japanese." By then, the Utah Legislature had created a law that if such discriminatory language was found in a deed, a title company could and should remove it immediately before the deed to the property was passed to a new owner.

It's been decades since any Fair Housing Act violation has been reported in Utah. Yes, the Feds do show up posing as buyers and test lenders and even Realtors to see if illegal housing discrimination is going on. We've passed with flying colors for a long time, but we must always remain diligent.

Any Realtor would be willing to discuss these issues with you and, even better, help you get into a home of your own. With so much of the struggle these days directly related to economic imbalance, Black LIves Mattershould ask local governments to increase their budgets for housing to help more people get into their own homes.