Equal Housing Opportunity… Fair Housing Laws … The little black and white house on most Realtors® business cards, flyers, advertisements … etc. This little house represents Fair Housing Laws, and Article 10 of the Realtor® Code of Ethics addresses these. Welcome to Post #7 in my series, Understanding theRealtor® Code of Ethics
But, what does it mean? Well, this Article is a doozy, but … Bottom Line?
Don’t be an ignorant fool. Don’t discriminate.
What IS discrimination?
According to Dictionary.com, discrimination is: treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.
OK, I understand that there are parts of the country where racism is alive and kicking. What?!? I’m sorry… I can’t even wrap my mind around the concept of racism… but it is out there. And I know there are other “isms” that I cannot wrap my mind around, either: like color-ism, religion-ism, sex-ism, familial status-ism, national origin-ism, and handicap-ism. I guess that is why we have the fair housing laws. Right? Sad, but true.
Enough of me not wrapping my mind around stupidity… Time for explaining the Fair Housing Laws, and how they relate to the Realtor® Code of Ethics.
REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. 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, or national origin.
This is the first Article (of 5) that describes a Realtors® duty to the Public. Which means that this is an obligation, not only to the client and customer, but to everyone that a Realtor® deals with… EVERYONE.
This only applies to “protected classes” which includes the following categories:
- NATIONAL ORIGIN
- FAMILIAL STATUS
“When involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® shall not volunteer information regarding the racial, religious or ethnic composition of any neighborhood nor shall they engage in any activity which may result in panic selling, however, REALTORS® may provide other demographic information.” An example of Panic Selling would be:
Agent Stu Pidd-Wann is trying to get a listing in a particular neighborhood, so he tells a potential Seller, “Now would be the time to sell because more <insert protected class here> are moving into the neighborhood, and I don’t know what that may do to your property value.” Yeah. Realtors® are not allowed to do that.
A Realtor® IS allowed to provide demographic information on an area, under the following 4 conditions:
- It is not tied to a specific transaction that the Realtor® is involved in.
- The information is compliant with Article 10- Non Discriminatory
- The information is gathered from a “recognized, reliable independent and impartial” source.
- Any “additions, deletions, modifications, interpretations or other changes” must be disclosed in reasonable detail.
However, a Realtor® “shall not print, display or circulate any statement or advertisement … that indicates any preference, limitations or discrimination” based on any protected class when dealing with the sale or lease of a property. This also means that it is unethical to state, “Great Family Home” in any advertising. I know that it is well-intentioned, but it is in fact, discriminatory.
Finally, this Article applies to and protects anyone working for any Realtor® or Realtor® firm- (employees or independent contractors). No discrimination in the workplace.
Honestly, the safest way to be Article 10 compliant is to let the public find out about demographics on their own. Go online and check out the United States Census Bureau. Really, no one should be deciding on anything based on discriminatory reasons, anyway. But, if someone wants to know about a neighborhood – they can drive through it… morning, noon, night, weekends. Talk to neighbors. Go shopping at the local store. …etc.
I invite you to please take a look at my recent post, Two Sides of Ignorance to see a real-life situation of real estate and discrimination.
Did you miss my previous posts about the Realtor® Code of Ethics? Well, you have some catching up to do…
Understanding the Realtor® Code of Ethics … Article 1
Understanding the Code of Ethics -Article 2: Disclosure
Understanding the Realtor® Code of Ethics – Article 3: Cooperating & Compensation
Understanding the Realtor® Code of Ethics: Articles 4 and 5- Disclosure of Ownership Interest
Understanding the Realtor® Code of Ethics: Articles 6 & 7 -Disclosing Compensation
Understanding the Realtor® Code of Ethics: Article 8 – Other People’s Money
Understanding the Realtor® Code of Ethics: Article 9- Contract Behavior Posted By: Springs Realty Scoop – Colorado Springs Real Estate