2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act.
Agents in a real estate transaction are prohibited by law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. A request from the home seller or landlord to act in a discriminatory manner in the sale, lease or rental cannot legally be fulfilled by the real estate professional.
Want to learn more? Check out these Fair Housing topics below.
The Code of Ethics
Article 10 of the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics provides that, “REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, 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, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
A REALTOR® pledges to conduct business in keeping with the spirit and letter of the Code of Ethics. Article 10 imposes obligations upon REALTORS® and is also a firm statement of support for equal opportunity in housing.
The landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968 outlawed discrimination against people looking to buy or rent a home based on their race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin—and the Supreme Court has ruled more recently that illegal housing discrimination can occur even without intent. Under the court’s 2015 disparate impact decision, a housing-related action can be held to be a fair housing violation if it disproportionately affects a particular protected class and the accused entity could have achieved the same legitimate goal with a less discriminatory practice.
While a house with a well-maintained stairway and attractive front door may offer terrific curb appeal, it may present difficulties to those with mobility challenges. And once inside a home, other obstacles may present themselves. Are cabinets too high, or are the faucet handles on that beautiful inset kitchen sink too far out of reach for some? Are youth and elders as comfortable in the home as you and your clients? NAR supports homeownership for all — be ready for every challenge your clients may face living in their home or hosting others, now and in the future. Be the knowledgeable adviser they’ll need and come back to.
REALTORS® can help buyers of any cultural background achieve the American dream of homeownership. Knowing how to work effectively with diverse populations can help you build business success in today’s multicultural real estate market. NAR’s Equal Opportunity and Cultural Diversity program offers education, grants, partnerships, and events for REALTORS®. Click here to learn more.
If You Suspect Discrimination
SABOR accepts complaints alleging violations of the Code of Ethics filed by a home seeker who alleges discriminatory treatment in the availability, purchase or rental of housing. Alternatively, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can be contacted to file a complaint with the nearest office.
Join Us to Commemorate 50 Years of Fair Housing on July 11: Be our guest for a special commemorative luncheon featuring NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall and Trinity professor Dr. Christine Drennon. Register here (no cost to attend).