As Don Imus and Michael Richards recently demonstrated, racism continues to show its ugly face.
The conclusion of April (Fair Housing Month) marks the 39th anniversary of the passage of the 1968 U.S. Fair Housing Act. This is serious business. This law prohibits discrimination by direct providers of housing. President Lyndon B. Johnson urged Congress to pass this legislation one week after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As a home seller or landlord, you have a responsibility and a requirement under the 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. Sellers cannot instruct their Realtor to convey for you any limitations in the sale or rental because he or she is also bound by law not to discriminate.
With minority buying power in America at more than $1 trillion and minorities accounting for 40 percent of first-time home buyers, it is good business for real estate agents to develop the skills to reach the growing multicultural market of prospective homeowners.
As the 2000 U.S. Census reported, America is more culturally diverse than at any other time in the nation’s history. This diversity is now considered to be one of our nation’s greatest assets. It’s affecting not only the way we view the world, but also ourselves. Meeting the needs of our own diverse consumer groups should continue to become an element for all business, not just those related to real estate.
The National Association of Realtors has developed a Fair Housing Program to provide resources and guidance to Realtors to ensure equal professional services for every person. Please note that the term “Realtor” identifies a licensed real estate professional who belongs to the National Association of Realtors.
Not all licensed agents and brokers are members of this organization. Only those who are may identify themselves as Realtors. Realtors conduct their business and activities in accordance with a strict code of ethics, which includes a firm statement of support for equal opportunity in housing.
Realtors are fervent supporters of fair housing, working every day on the front lines with buyers and sellers to provide equal and affordable housing for everyone.
I’m proud to be part of such a group. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s good business.