City Hall, homesellers mark Fair Housing Month |

City Hall, homesellers mark Fair Housing Month

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council have commemorated the Fair Housing Act, 1968 legislation that guarantees rights of minorities in homes sales and rentals.

The elected officials recently proclaimed April as Fair Housing Month in Park City, revisiting similar declarations from City Hall in previous years. The 2010 proclamation notes the act is 42 years old. It says "we must, as individuals and as people, take our stand to provide equity for all, including equal opportunity in housing a reality in our community."

"Park City, Utah, welcomes this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to provide equal housing to all people and support the right of every citizen to live where they choose without fear of discrimination," the proclamation says.

It says the elected officials "urge all citizens to recognize and embrace the goal of improving the quality of life for all residents."

Housing activists have long said Park City landlords comply with the act. Scott Loomis, who helms Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, a not-for-profit advocacy group, said he is not aware of a local case involving a violation of the act.

"I think people are aware of it and don’t violate the law," Loomis said.

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An information sheet published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development indicates that key housing decisions cannot be made based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, family status or handicap. Decisions include renting, negotiating or selling housing, falsely denying that housing is available and setting different terms, according to the information sheet.

The act also protects people seeking mortgages.

The Park City Board of Realtors in early April held a Fair Housing Act class for homesellers, bringing an instructor to Park City to cover issues like the classes of people protected under the act. The class was designed to provide continuing education for the homesellers.

Mark Seltenrich, the president of the Board of Realtors, said he is unaware of a claim involving an alleged violation of the Fair Housing Act in his approximately 20 years in the local industry.

He said local real estate agents are "conscious" of the act. Seltenrich said he supports City Hall’s Fair Housing Month declaration as well as his group’s efforts.

"It’s just to draw attention to those issues and make sure you don’t cross that line," he said.