This year’s observance of Fair Housing Month is not happening as planned. Consumers and real estate professionals are currently preoccupied with making the best of the situation we are in and getting on with the spring buying and selling season. It is not business as we thought it would be, but market activity is stable – even considering the circumstances.
That does not mean REALTORS® are not concerned about the current and future the real estate industry or their profession’s role in it. That is where Fair Housing comes in.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act in 1968, following a prolonged legislative battle and on the heels of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Act extended the basic discrimination protections within the 1964 Civil Rights Act into the housing market.
The Act aims to ensure that no one is discriminated against in property transactions based on his or her protected class. The importance of the Act lies in the fact that brokers, sellers, lenders, and insurers cannot adopt discriminatory policies against people in the protected class. The law was enacted to discourage biased practices on the part of landlords, lenders, brokers, and insurers for certain groups of people.
REALTORS® have embraced the Fair Housing Act and have illustrated its tenents with their Fair Housing Declaration. It reads:
“I agree to:
– Provide equal professional service without regard to the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin of any prospective client, customer, or of the residents of any community.
– Keep informed about fair housing law and practices, improving my clients’ and customers’ opportunities and my business.
– Develop advertising that indicates that everyone is welcome, and no one is excluded; expanding my client’s and customer’s opportunities to see, buy, or lease property.
– Inform my clients and customers about their rights and responsibilities under the fair housing laws by providing brochures and other information.
– Document my efforts to provide professional service, which will assist me in becoming a more responsive and successful REALTOR®.
– Refuse to tolerate non-compliance.
– Learn about those who are different from me and celebrate those differences.
– Take a positive approach to fair housing practices and aspire to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law.
– Develop and implement fair housing practices for my firm to carry out the spirit of this declaration.”
While some may look at this as something to remember when putting together an ad or showing properties, others have a broader vision and are committed to promoting fair housing and a better quality of life for everyone in their communities. It’s not only good business, it’s just the right thing to do.
Housing is a defining factor in a person’s quality of life. Where you live affects your access to social, cultural, educational, and other community amenities. In other words, housing discrimination is a denial of the opportunity to fully enjoy the American Dream, and REALTORS® believe everyone has that right!
NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee is the largest trade association in Northeast Tennessee. It represents over 1,300 members and 100 affiliates involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Pending sales, monthly Trends Reports, and the regional market analytics are available on the NETAR website at https://netar.us/voice-real-estate-northeast-tennessee.