Each and every day, REALTORS® work to respect and safeguard fair housing rights for buyers and sellers across the country. And during Fair Housing Month—observed each April—the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and its one million members pause to reflect on the significance of this event and to reconfirm our mutual commitment to uphold fair housing law and to offer equal professional service to all in their search for real property. Significant achievements have been made since the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968. However, the core principles guiding fair housing law require the continued support of brokers and their agents.
While NAR actively advocates for Fair Housing at the national level, your REALTOR® Associations stand behind you at the state and local level, providing information, advocacy and support. Brokers can continue playing a key role with their agents by promoting awareness, providing training, and leading by personal example.
Ways to Show Your Support
Brokers’ commitment to equal opportunity has been instrumental in bringing our nation’s fair housing policies to life. There are several ways you can help keep that progress moving forward in your own communities.
Stay Informed – Communities’ understanding and interpretation of fair housing, diversity and inclusion is constantly evolving. For brokers, local cases are usually the most instructive. Staying plugged into the issues playing out in your market will help you understand the subtle, but important, nuances driving local dynamics.
Support Agent Training – NAR’s At Home With Diversity® (AHWD) certification course offers comprehensive training on serving culturally diverse consumers. Coupled with your in-house coaching efforts, agents can help raise the bar as representatives and advocates of fair housing and equal opportunity.
Encourage Discussions – To raise awareness, periodically pose questions related to fair housing, diversity and inclusion at team meetings, encouraging agents to share their perspectives. Examples:
- What does our commitment to equal professional treatment mean?
- How would you deal with (cite a situation that’s emerged in your community)?
- How can we change the conversation with others regarding (some perceived undesirable aspect of your community, such as “poor schools”)?
Lead by Example – Agents who see you engage clients with fairness and integrity will follow your cues. Your actions send a strong message that you believe in equal housing opportunity and don’t make assumptions based on race, color, religion, gender, family status, disability, national origin, gender identity or sexual orientation.
Advocate for Change – Some brokers and their agents will want to go a step further by actively promoting the tenets of fair housing at the grassroots level. This may be as simple as joining a community/government organization, or the parent-teacher group at your school, and encouraging diversity and inclusive decision-making in their activities.
If you want help putting these views into words, or spreading the message of fair housing and equal opportunity, many excellent resources are available through NAR and others (see re:sources). Finally, consider joining and actively participating in your local REALTOR® board’s fair housing efforts. They will welcome your support!
Keep the spirit of fair housing alive and well. By loving our communities, supporting their diversity, and looking for ways to get more involved, we can all serve as ambassadors for fair housing. It’s only logical that REALTORS® will continue leading the march.
NAR’s Fair Housing Program
Go to www.REALTOR.org/programs/fair-housing-program to access the latest Fair Housing poster and Fair Housing FOCUS handout, as well as other NAR resources.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity administers and enforces Fair Housing laws. Go to www.hud.gov/fairhousing to access outreach tools, including brochures and posters translated into numerous languages.
National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA)
A consortium of over 200 private, non-profit fair housing organizations, civil rights agencies and individuals. Extensive resources are offered at www.nationalfairhousing.org.
For more information, visit www.realtor.org.