What are REALTORS® Doing to Ensure Fair & Equal Housing?

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  • Jul 20, 2020, 09:54 AM

Fair housing is more than a list of dos and don’ts, rights and penalties, and mandatory continuing education. As stewards of the right to own, use and transfer private property, fair housing protects our livelihood and business as REALTORS® and depends on a free, open market that embraces equal opportunity.


The Snohomish County Camano Association REALTORS® (SCCAR), along with Washington REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®, support equal opportunity in housing and oppose practices and policies which have a known discriminatory effect.


REALTORS® recognize the significance of the Fair Housing Act and reconfirm their commitment to upholding fair housing law as well as their commitment to offering equal professional service to all in their search for real property.


The landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968 outlawed discrimination against people looking to buy or rent a home based on their race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin—and the Supreme Court has ruled more recently that illegal housing discrimination can occur even without intent.


As a REALTOR® sworn to uphold a strict Code of Ethics, they must treat all clients equally, regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The REALTOR® commitment to diversity and equality is perhaps the strongest in real estate, even going a step further than the federal Fair Housing Act, which does not include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes against housing discrimination. REALTORS’® also initiated their own “Fair Housing Action Plan”, abbreviated ‘ACT,’ which emphasizes (A)ccountability, (C)ulture Change, and (T)raining in order to ensure America’s 1.4 million REALTORS® are doing everything possible to protect housing rights in America. The National Association of REALTORS® also authorizes sanctions in response to a finding that a member has violated any fair housing law, including local and state laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.


Denise McDonald, President of the Snohomish County Camano Association of Realtors®, stated, “Silence is not an option given all that is happening with racial discrimination. The REALTOR® foundation is built on fair housing for all. Therefore, there is no tolerance for racism at SCCAR or in the REALTOR® industry.”


Racial injustice is deeply rooted in history and is apparent in housing discrimination, even today. REALTORS® have partnered with Perception Institute to offer a training to their members about implicit bias. This training breaks down the science behind implicit bias and gives solutions to unintended discrimination. This workshop is to help members avoid implicit bias in their daily business interactions. Drawing upon the latest evidence-based research, Perception Institute explains how our brains’ automatic and instant association of stereotypes with particular groups can cause us to treat those who are different from us unfairly, despite our best intentions and often without our conscious awareness. Perception Institute then applies these concepts to the everyday work of REALTORS® and offers strategies to override bias in order to convey respect, ensure fairness, and improve business relationships.


For more information about buying or selling a home or to learn of the work REALTORS® are doing to ensure equal housing opportunities, be sure to work with a REALTOR®, a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Snohomish County Camano Association of REALTORS® is the voice for real estate in Snohomish County. If you have questions for The Expert about real estate email us at info@sccar.org, or by visiting https://www.sccar.org.