Fair housing laws help preserve dignity

By Kim Shindle | Nov. 14, 2014 | 2 min. read

Karel Murray
Karel Murray

The United States is in the middle of a hurricane with change happening all around, according to Karel Murray, DREI, a real estate instructor.

“The world is going to change, with or without you,” she adds. “Demographics show that by the year 2020, the Caucasian population will probably be the minority in the United States. It’s time we look at Fair Housing Laws and recognize that they are about preserving dignity of people we work with.”

Murray has worked with multicultural clients who were treated unfairly by their new neighbors. “I saw the emotional impact and recognized how important it is to treat everyone with dignity, no matter what their background or culture is.

“I’m astounded by the types of questions many licensees are asking,” she says. “The public is highly educated and they’re aware of their rights and resources so it’s important that real estate agents are aware of the law.”

For example, Murray said she visited a broker’s stunning new office with an elaborate entryway and off to the left, he built a doorway for Hispanic clients to enter where a Spanish-speaking receptionist and agents worked. “He wanted them to feel at home but the building gave the appearance of having a different environment. It was obviously a violation. And agents have to remember that the intent to discriminate doesn’t have to be there if the appearance gives the impression that you are segregating a population.”

Murray says she has seen evidence of agents breaking fair housing laws in their advertising as well. “The National Association of Realtors® Code of Ethics Article 10 outlines how Realtors® should treat everyone fairly. Realtors® need to re-familiarize themselves with this and really come to terms as to what the heart of the law means. We need to help everyone, regardless of their culture, religion, disability or lifestyle with dignity and help them find a home where they want to live.”

Murray will present “Preserving Dignity: Fair Housing & Real Estate” at two different times during Triple Play Realtors® Convention in Atlantic City, December 8-11. In addition, she will present two other sessions: “Who, What, When and Why! Designing Your Program,” and “Character Counts… Doesn’t It? Raising the Bar of Competency: Professional Standards of Practice and Ethical Conduct.” Register online to attend Triple Play.

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