ers interested in units in predominantly black neighborhoods. Given the “ordi- nary reader” concept, the court ruled that the allegations were sufficient to enable them to prove “that the Times has published, and continues to publish, some dis- criminatory ads.” If a human model ad or any other advertising campaign, such as one using words or phrases that express a preference, limitation, or discrimination, runs afoul of the Fair Housing Act, then the New York Times decision makes clear that liability extends to the newspaper publishing it as well as to the advertiser placing it.
108 Chapter 6 Fair Housing Laws and Ethical Practices THE FAIR HOUSING POSTER HUD requires that its fair housing posters be displayed in any place of business where real estate is offered for sale or rent. Following HUD’s advertising proce- dures and using the fair housing slogan and logo keep the public aware of the broker’s commitment to equal opportunity. The secretary of Housing and Urban Development has established regulations with respect to the display of a fair housing poster (see Figure 6.5) by persons subject to Sections 804 through 806 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 USC 3604–3606. CREATING PROTECTED CLASS–SENSITIVE ADVERTISING Today, most complaints involving fair housing advertising are based on blatant violations of the Fair Housing Act, such as ads seeking “no children” or “adults only.” However, with the increased scrutiny of fair real estate advertising by fair housing organizations, testers, and individual homeseekers, many real estate prac- titioners are concerned about being charged with housing bias based on the word- ing in their advertisements. Seemingly harmless words may trigger a complaint. The key to composing advertising that complies with the Fair Housing Act is to describe the property, not the seller, landlord, neighbors, or so-called appropriate buyers or renters. Creating advertising that is sensitive to the protected classes under the Fair Hous- ing Act is not as difficult as it may seem. Simply review the wording in the ad to see whether anyone might feel excluded by what is being said. Keep in mind that if a person wouldn’t pick up the phone to respond to an ad because of exclusion- ary wording, the ad might generate a complaint. For example, the term “Christian handyman” in an ad for rental housing violated Wisconsin law by expressing ille- gal preferences on the basis of both sex and religion. I N P R A C T I C E Fair Housing Risk Reduction Tips for Buyer’s Agents When a real estate agent is listing a home and the seller directs the agent to exclude cer- tain buyers based on their race, the decision the agent faces is simple—decline the listing. Fair housing law compliance issues are more complex for the buyer’s agent. The following are typical questions that buyers ask: Is this a safe neighborhood?
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- Fall '16
- Ray Teske
- real estate license, Modern Real Estate Practice