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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HUD to Enforce Fair Housing Act to Prohibit Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

“NAR has long championed LGBTQ rights in the housing market, first calling for expanded protections in 2011,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler. “There are few greater human needs than housing, and to exclude LGBTQ individuals from the protections afforded to other Americans is cruel. This is a just and historic decision by HUD.”

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Clients and discrimination

It’s not preachy to tell your client that discrimination in housing is unlawful and subjects them to substantial adverse consequences. Remind him that your own participation in such a practice is unlawful and therefore you will not promote that practice.

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Video: You’re More Than a Messenger

HUD regulations provide that a person who provides housing-related services may be liable for their own misconduct, for the misconduct of an employee or agent or for the failure to correct or end discriminatory practices done by a third party.

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Fair Housing makes U.S. stronger

April marks the 50th anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act and Realtors® have additional requirements to follow through the National Association of Realtors® Code of Ethics.

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