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Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Protected Classes in Real Estate

In Pennsylvania, several municipalities prohibit discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, as does the Realtor® Code of Ethics. However, this interpretation of the Fair Housing Act means that these protections are now the law of the land and applicable to most real estate transactions, regardless of the location and Realtor® involvement.

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Fair Housing Discrimination Based on Disabilities Still a Frequent Complaint in Pennsylvania

The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from discriminating against people with disabilities, including refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices when such accommodations may be necessary to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling. This includes permitting persons with disabilities to have service animals or assistance animals. Housing providers may not prohibit people with disabilities from having assistance animals that perform work or tasks or that provide disability-related emotional support.

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Best of the Legal Hotline: What Pennsylvania Realtors® Are Asking About Fair Housing

“Do not be blindly following customers instructions,” said Desiree Brougher, a PAR attorney. “As a license, you are held to a higher standard of knowledge and behavior. Your job is to educate your clients and sometimes other Realtors® on fair housing laws. If your client is not willing to follow fair housing laws, it is OK to drop them.”

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