Changes to Fair Housing Law Proposed in Ohio Fairness Act
May 31, 2019 |
Earlier this year, State Senator Nickie Antonio introduced the Ohio Fairness Act. Among other things, the Act proposes changes to Ohio’s Civil Rights Law by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of persons protected under Ohio’s housing, employment, and public accommodation protections.
Current law requires every real estate broker’s office to prominently display a statement that it is illegal to discriminate against any person because of race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, familial status, disability, or military status, in the sale or rental of housing or residential lots, in advertising the sale or rental of housing, in the financing of housing, or in the provision of real estate brokerage services.
The current law also requires each written agency agreement to contain a statement that it is illegal, pursuant to the Ohio Fair Housing Law and the Federal Fair Housing Law, to deny or make unavailable housing accommodations because of race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, familial status, disability, or military status, or to so discriminate in advertising the sale, or rental of housing, in the financing of housing, or in the provision of real estate brokerage services.
If the legislation is passed, sexual orientation and gender identity will be added to the protected classes of persons protected under Ohio’s Fair Housing Law. In support of the legislation, State Senator Antonio testified the proposal will give people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender the same freedom to live where they chose and the same full equal participation in society. She noted that Ohio is one of 28 states that do not have clear non-discrimination protections for members of the LGBTQ community. She did highlight however that 21 Ohio cities and 2 counties have passed local ordinances.
State Senator Antonio cited Governor Mike DeWine’s executive order outlining an anti-discrimination policy for state government employees by adding sexual orientation and gender identify or expression to protected classes. Finally, she highlighted that more than 500 businesses have joined Ohio Business Competes, a nonpartisan coalition of Ohio businesses that support nondiscrimination policies that are inclusive of LGBTQ Ohioans. In conclusion, State Senator Antonio argued that the prosed protections and civil rights protections are essential building blocks of the American dream.
The legislation is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee. If passed it will move to the House for consideration. A change in Ohio’s fair housing law will necessitate updates to all real estate brokerage forms that reference fair housing. A full copy of State Senator Antonio’s remarks and the legislation can be reviewed at S.B. 11.