March 31, 2019

​Relators® celebrate April as Fair Housing Month


Spring is the time of year when real estate professionals are busy preparing for the housing market's prime buying and selling season. It's also when they take the time to observe the 1968 anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. 

2019 NETAR President

This year the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is also supporting legislation to amend the Act to include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The provisions were sponsored by Congressman David Cicillini (D-RI).

NAR wrote a letter commending the Congressman and supporting the legislation introduced on March 13, 2019. It said in part, “NAR’s Code of Ethics now requires all Realtors® to provide equal professional services without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity. This commitment extends to Realtors® in all aspects of real estate, not limited to housing, and to their real estate related employment practices.

The tenets of how Realtors® have embraced the Fair Housing Act are best illustrated with their Fair Housing Declaration. It reads:

"I agree:

    -  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 make a commitment to promote fair housing and a better quality of life for everyone in their communities. It is not only the right thing to do, it is good business.

Housing is a major factor in defining 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.

Realtors® see and appreciate how important this principle is to their role in the ongoing effort to help improve the quality of neighborhoods and communities.

Like many other facets of the real estate market, fair housing issues are constantly evolving. That is why Realtors® keep up with those changes through continuing education - much of it from the NAR. Through education, they build a better understanding of the demographics of their communities and the changing needs of homeowners.

 Of special concern to this part of the state is the realization that the overall population is aging so new residents are the key to sustaining and growing our population. As the housing demands for an aging population and new residents arise, Realtors® will be there to serve them with a commitment to fair housing principles.