In January, many of us make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, eat better, journal daily, exercise more and so forth.
But every April, there’s a new challenge for you. Revisit your fair housing training.
Dr. Lee Davenport spoke yesterday in a webinar with PAR President Al Perry about fair housing. She encouraged Realtors® to use this month to reevaluate your fair housing practices. “Have you gotten caught up in this crazy market and not prioritized fair housing?,” she asked. Some resources she recommended include the National Fair Housing Training Academy, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. She also encouraged Realtors® to take the National Association of Realtors® Fairhaven online fair housing simulation that walks you through scenarios as an agent as well as a consumer.
“There are always changes in our industry for fair housing,” she said. “What worked in 1923 won’t work today. There is always time for us to self-reflect.”
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), familial status and disability.
Davenport said that despite this year being the 55th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, there is still discrimination in housing.
“We have these laws to make sure real estate stays as an open and fair market and everyone has opportunities.” However, Davenport said there are still cases of redlining and other discriminatory practices, which impacts future generations as well.
“Homeownership and real estate give people an opportunity to build generational wealth,” she said. “It needs to remain something that we all have access to. As real estate professionals, we have such a large opportunity to stand in the gap, advocate and mitigate. We need to be on alert and be aware on how to report discrimination and unfair housing.” Davenport recommended contacting the National Community Reinvestment Coalition to report discrimination in housing. Complaints regarding fair housing can also be filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also has resources available, as well as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
It’s also important to make sure real estate vendors are following fair housing laws. What are they doing to make sure things are equitable? She recommended connecting with them to discuss their fair housing practices.
“So many different protected classes face inequitable access to housing across the nation. As the real estate professionals who do this every day, we have the opportunity to help our clients. Clients may not realize they are even being discriminated against,” she added.