Fair Housing & Implicit Bias in Real Estate

  • by Cami Morrill
  • Jun 23, 2020, 11:26 AM

The Snohomish County Camano Association REALTORS®, along with Washington REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®, support equal opportunity in housing and in general opposes 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 farther than the federal Fair Housing Act, which does not include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes against housing discrimination. REALTORS’® also initiated the Fair Housing Action Plan, abbreviated ‘ACT,’ 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.

Also, Washington REALTORS’® President, Kitty Wallace, introduces a timely resource every Washington REALTOR® member, office staff, and affiliate should watch. Racial injustice is deeply rooted in history and is apparent in housing discrimination, even today. The resource introduced in this video breaks down the science behind implicit bias and gives solutions to unintended discrimination. This video was created by the mind science experts at the Perception Institute to present an online workshop to help members avoid implicit bias in their daily business interactions. Drawing upon the latest evidence-based research, Perception explains how our brains’ automatic, 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 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. Want to go deeper? Take the Implicit Bias Test and watch the Bias Override training video.