Every April, REALTORS® commemorate the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and reflect on housing discrimination and segregation, past and present. As community leaders, real estate professionals have an opportunity to be a part of equitable and inclusive change. Fair Housing Month signifies a recommitment to advancing equitable opportunities and expanding homeownership.


Missouri has a complex history when it comes to fair housing. One significant issue has been the use of restrictive covenants, which were clauses in property deeds that prohibited the sale of a property to anyone who was not white or of a specific religion. These covenants were common in Missouri and other states until the 1948 Supreme Court decision in Shelley v. Kraemer, which ruled them unconstitutional.

Despite this ruling, many restrictive covenants remained on property deeds in Missouri and were enforced through the mid-20th century. This led to racial segregation and discrimination in housing, with people of color and those of certain religions being unable to purchase or rent in certain areas.


In 2022, Missouri took a significant step forward in addressing this issue by passing legislation that removes all remaining restrictive covenants from property deeds in the state. Missouri REALTORS® legislative committees and their advocacy team played a large role in getting this legislation passed.

This legislation is a crucial step in promoting fair housing and undoing the effects of past discrimination. It acknowledges the harm caused by restrictive covenants and takes action to rectify it. However, there is still work to be done to ensure that everyone has equal access to safe, affordable, and quality housing.


The National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics, adopted in 1913, was one of the first codifications of ethical duties adopted by any business group. The Code ensures that consumers are served by requiring REALTORS® to cooperate with each other in furthering clients’ best interests. Article 10 of The National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics outlines our code of conduct around fair housing issues.

REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. 

Real estate professionals and consumers depend on strong fair housing laws and practices for our communities and economy to thrive. Discrimination distorts the housing market and closes the door on the American dream of homeownership for qualified buyers. We are dedicated to helping everyone in our community reach their goals of homeownership.