Racial injustice is deeply rooted in American history and is apparent in housing discrimination, even today. In honor of Black History Month, we wanted to highlight what we, as REALTOR® associations, are doing to ensure fair and equal housing opportunities. The Snohomish County-Camano Association REALTORS® (SCCAR), along with Washington REALTORS® (WR) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), support equal opportunity in housing and oppose practices and policies which have a known discriminatory effect.
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. 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.
REALTORS® have also 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 to ensure America’s 1.4 million REALTORS® are doing everything possible to protect housing rights in America.
Last year, WR® and SCCAR® worked on state legislation to promote racial justice in real estate. “One of the many things our Government Affairs Committee did last year was to encourage legislators to pass House Bill 1335, which they did. This bill created a statewide opportunity to audit and remove all unlawful racial language from real estate documents,” stated SCCAR President, Ellen Bohn. Included documents are, but not limited to, existing Recorded Title Documents; Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (CC&R’s); and Homeowner Association (HOA) documents.
NAR® also authorized sanctions in response to finding a member has violated any fair housing law, including local and state laws which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. If you experience or witness discrimination in real estate, we urge you to report it: visit www.hud.gov/fairhousing to file a complaint.
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 about real estate, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.sccar.org.