Tennessee’s Fair Housing Act and How It Affects You

Tennessee’s Fair Housing Act and How It Affects You

Tennessee’s Fair Housing Act and How It Affects You

If you’re a homebuyer in Tennessee, you need to know your rights. Understanding them protects you and helps you navigate the entire process more successfully.

The Tennessee Fair Housing Act was passed to give everyone an equal opportunity to secure a place to live. It prohibits discrimination against you because of your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. w

Who must abide?

There are certain people to whom the Fair Housing Act pertains regarding housing.

  • Landlords
    If a person owns a complex of more than four units and doesn’t live on the property, owns more than three houses, and/or is advertising a property for rent, they are required to follow the fair housing laws.
  • Property Managers
    An individual or business that manages a condo complex, apartment building, or home rentals is required to abide by the Fair Housing Act.
  • Sales Managers
    Sometimes a condominium complex will employ a salesperson to market its units. This individual must follow the Fair Housing Act and not act in a discriminatory way toward those who are protected by it.
  • Condominium Associations
    Associations may need to approve any new resident before they are allowed to move in. While they can weigh other factors, they cannot use the factors protected by the Fair Housing Act to reach their decision about providing housing.
  • Others
    The law also applies to financial institutions, real estate brokers, builders, operations, developers, and insurance agents.

Who is exempt?

The Fair Housing Act doesn’t reach everyone involved in housing. A small landlord who owns three or fewer houses, or one that owns a complex of four or fewer units and lives on the property, is exempt from the Act.

What are some examples of discrimination? 

There are several ways a person can be discriminated against when they are trying to find housing. A few of the more common discriminatory actions that affect homebuyers are:

  • Steering
    If a real estate agent only shows a protected class homebuyer houses in neighborhoods picked because of their protected class (for example, showing a black couple homes only in predominantly black neighborhoods), this is discrimination. Another form of steering is when the agent discourages a buyer from purchasing in certain subdivisions or neighborhoods by exaggerating the negative aspects of the area and playing down the positives. In a nutshell, showing houses based on the person’s protected class status.
  • Screening
    Prospective renters and homeowners both go through certain screening during the decision process. Renters submit to background checks, and homeowners agree to credit and employment checks. These are both allowed, as long as they are consistent. If a landlord or a lender only screens certain segments of the population, or screens them more stringently, those actions are discriminating against that person or group of people.
  • Redlining
    There are still sections of every city and town where the residents are primarily one race or ethnicity. Lenders and real estate agents who are unwilling to sell homes in certain locations because the area is populated with certain minorities or ethnicities is a discriminatory action under the Fair Housing Act.
  • Reverse redlining
    When the parties involved in the lending process, like the lender or real estate agent, charge minorities and other protected classes more fees, higher prices, or unfair mortgage terms, this is called reverse redlining. It’s also part of a bigger issue widely known as predatory lending.

What should you do if you are discriminated against? 

If you live in Tennessee and think you’ve been a victim of housing discrimination, you can file a complaint with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC). Keep in mind there’s a window of time to file, which is 180 days after the last act of discrimination. Once they receive it, the THRC will investigate your complaint to determine if there’s enough cause to believe a violation of the Fair Housing Act occurred. If so, you may be entitled to administrative or court action for recovery of damages. If there’s cause found, you must file a lawsuit within a year after the last act of discrimination, or you lose the right to do so.

Everyone should expect access to equal and fair housing, and the state of Tennessee is committed to make certain everyone receives it. Knowing that discrimination does exist helps you to know what to watch for during your homebuying journey. If you experience it, take proper action to protect yourself and your family.


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Mortgage Investors Group, based in Tennessee, offers residential financing in a number of states in the southeast, See MIG Service Areas. Terms and conditions to apply to home financing. We want to share with you the loan terms vary based on several characteristics and your financial profile. These include but are not limited to loan program, loan purpose, occupancy, credit history, credit score, assets, and other criteria per loan type. The repayment terms and interest rate may vary from time to time. The terms represented here are based on certain assumptions outlined below and/or noted on the loan outline page. Additional details concerning privacy, program disclosures, licensing specifics may be found at Legal Information.

MIG Loan Officers will help gather the information needed for an individual assessment to provide home financing which matches the loan characteristics with your home financing needs based on your financial profile, when you are ready to begin a full loan application. For estimates and general information before that step, the basis for which the mortgage financing information are as follows:

  • Rates are subject to change at any time.
  • Rate locks are available at current terms for 30 to 180 days based on program type, credit profile, property location, etc. which will affect the available rate and term.
  • Rate locks are available at current terms for 30 to 180 days based on program type, credit profile, property location, etc. which will affect the available rate and term.
  • Payments will vary based on program selection, current rates, property location, etc.
  • Not all programs are available in all states.
  • Some loan programs may not be available to first time home buyers.
  • Terms and conditions apply, which may include restrictions or limits per loan program.
  • Information is generally based on primary residence occupancy with no cash out when refinancing.
  • Unless otherwise stated, terms shown are estimates based in part on credit score of 700 or higher; owner occupancy, escrow account is established for taxes and insurance(s); debt-to-income ratio no higher than 43.0%; PMI applies to conventional loan programs over 80.0% LTV; VA,FHA & RD require insuring fees included in loan and/or payment; fixed rate, 30 year term.

An MIG Loan Officer is available to help with your financial details to determine which characteristics apply to your situation for a personalized look into which loan program best fits your home financing needs. Please use the Find a Loan Officer link or reach out to Mortgage Investors Group at 800-489-8910. Equal Housing Lender 1.2020