April marks the 47th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, a law prohibiting housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap. Each year, Realtors across the nation celebrate Fair Housing Month and reaffirm their continuing commitment to fair and equitable treatment and a professional level of service to all.
Buying or selling a home is one of the most monumental events of a lifetime. Beyond the business transaction, it signifies dreams, aspirations and economic destiny. Realtors take this very seriously.
In fact, Realtors are required by the National Association of Realtors to complete regular in-depth education on Fair Housing Law and abide by a strictly enforced Code of Ethics which guides professionalism through a set of standards.
Like real estate professionals, homebuyers and sellers also have rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
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As a seller or landlord you are required by law not to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin and cannot instruct the licensed broker or salesperson acting as your agent to convey for you any limitations in the sale or rental because the real estate professional is also bound by law not to discriminate.
As a home seeker, you have the right to expect that housing will be available to you without discrimination or other limitations based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. This includes the right to expect:
▪ Housing in your price range made available to you without discrimination and the opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices.
▪ Equal professional service.
▪ No discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing or in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing.
▪ Reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities.
▪ Non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing or insuring of a dwelling and to be free from harassment or intimidation for exercising your fair housing rights.
Realtors stand behind equal opportunity and freedom of choice in housing and strongly believe that greater awareness creates more positive outcomes for all involved. If you suspect discrimination you may contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Local Boards of Realtors also accept complaints related to alleged violations of the Realtor Code of Ethics.
Dan O’Neill, MGRI, is 2015 president of the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors.