Howard Law Journal
Although the study by the National Committee Against Discrimination in 1979 could not determine the “true” incidence of racial discrimination, it did produce some startling results. For example, if a black person were to visit three private apartment complexes, the probability of his encountering racial discrimination would be sixty-one percent. Moreover, an increase in the number of visits dramatically increased the probability of discrimination. The probability of discrimination would be ninety percent if the black prospective renter were to visit seven complexes. The likelihood of discrimination in the sale of housing was also found to be high. For instance, if a prospective black buyer were to visit three or five brokers, the probability of discrimination would be forty percent and fifty-six percent, respectively. Many factors contribute to the persistently high incidence of private housing discrimination. However, the behavior of real estate brokers and the poor enforcement of both federal and state fair housing laws have been cited as very important contributing factors.
There are both obvious and unexamined problems associated with private litigation which undermine the effectiveness of judicial enforcement. After considering the relevant data in two hundred and one private discrimination in housing suits, this article calls for the enactment of the Fair Housing Amendment Act rather than the Equal Access to Housing Act. The latter act would increase the likelihood of private litigation and would, thus, make only a minor contribution to the reduction of the persistently high incidence of discrimination in private housing.
Willy E. Rice, Judicial Enforcement of Fair Housing Laws: An Analysis of Some Unexamined Problems that the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1983 Would Eliminate, 27 How. L.J. 227 (1984).