First published in December 2019, Newsday reported on their 3 year undercover investigation into unfair treatment of minorities by real estate agents in the Long Island area. Newsday paired testers to visit real estate agents across Long Island to see if they would be treated the same, and the results are quite literally, shocking. Equally appalling were the responses received by broker owners when subpoenaed to answer allegations made against their associates. The Newsday article and the undercover videos can be found here.
The National Association of REALTORS has provided guidance on Fair Housing and Implicit Bias through updates to the Code of Ethics under Article 10, and Standard of Practice 10-5:
Article 10 (Case Interpretations for Article 10)
REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)
REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14) [listen]
- Standard of Practice 10-1
When involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® shall not volunteer information regarding the racial, religious or ethnic composition of any neighborhood nor shall they engage in any activity which may result in panic selling, however, REALTORS® may provide other demographic information. (Adopted 1/94, Amended 1/06)
- Standard of Practice 10-2
When not involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® may provide demographic information related to a property, transaction or professional assignment to a party if such demographic information is (a) deemed by the REALTOR® to be needed to assist with or complete, in a manner consistent with Article 10, a real estate transaction or professional assignment and (b) is obtained or derived from a recognized, reliable, independent, and impartial source. The source of such information and any additions, deletions, modifications, interpretations, or other changes shall be disclosed in reasonable detail. (Adopted 1/05, Renumbered 1/06)
- Standard of Practice 10-3
REALTORS® shall not print, display or circulate any statement or advertisement with respect to selling or renting of a property that indicates any preference, limitations or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Adopted 1/94, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06, Amended 1/14)
- Standard of Practice 10-4
As used in Article 10 “real estate employment practices” relates to employees and independent contractors providing real estate-related services and the administrative and clerical staff directly supporting those individuals. (Adopted 1/00, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06)
- Standard of Practice 10-5
REALTORS® must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Adopted and Effective 11/2020)
NAR also teamed up with the Perception Institute to create implicit bias training and developed resources for you to create diversity, equity and inclusion in your business practices. Videos, sample office policies and more can be found at https://www.nar.realtor/fair-housing
Because many of us don’t know what we don’t know, NAR also created an interactive program that helps point out YOUR implicit bias areas of weakness – the experience will be different for all who take this virtual tour of potential buyers, sellers and scenarios. The whole thing takes about 1 hour to complete and can be taken in bits and pieces, or all in one sitting. Welcome to Fairhaven: A Fairhousing Simulation! We’re happily promoting those members who have completed the Fairhaven challenge, so when you do, please let Sandy know so she can include you in our next member update!
As a final word of warning, Massachusetts has funded Fair Housing testers to the tune of $20 million. Please use the resources above to keep yourself in a safe place and frame of mind. Because of our backgrounds and experiences, our implicit bias, even those of us who endeavor to be honest and fair with all and to be diverse and inclusive have a thing or two we can pick up from these resources.