Advertising and Fair Housing

Under the Fair Housing Laws of the State of Texas and the Federal Government it is well settled that no one is allowed to discriminate when advertising property that is for rent or purchase. This applies regardless of whether you are licensed to sell real estate or are a private citizen. There are no exceptions to this rule. See Section 301.041(a)(1)(B) of the Texas Fair Housing Act and Section 42 U.S. Code § 3604 (c). To say otherwise is a misstatement of the law.

The laws were created to guard protected classes from being unable to acquire property and in particular that it is illegal to:

a) refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a home to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin;

b) discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin;

c) make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination;

d) represent to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin that any dwelling is not available for inspection, sale, or rental when such dwelling is in fact so available.

There are additional provisions that speak to the illegal conduct which can be found further in Section 42 U.S. Code § 3604 of the U.S. Federal Fair Housing Act.

Are there exceptions to when both Federal and State laws are applicable? Yes, there are. However, those exceptions never come into play when any property is being advertised in a discriminatory manner. Thus any advertisement of a property in such a way that is discriminatory is de facto a violation of the Fair Housing Laws. It is also important to remember that when a real estate agent is involved in any transaction there are also never exceptions to the applicability of the Fair Housing Laws.

REALTORS® stand behind the Code of Ethics which represents an understanding that homeownership is a right that is to be enjoyed by all individuals regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Therefore, when we speak of exceptions to the Fair Housing Act we know that simply because the law does not apply never makes discrimination acceptable.

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