HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan made an appearance at the National Association of REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings on Wednesday to laud the work of his agency in promoting housing policies and programs that acknowledge the equal rights of gay and lesbian Americans. The agency makes clear that sexual orientation is no barrier to accessing any HUD programs, he said.
“We have a broad requirement that housing opportunities should be available to all persons regardless of sexual orientation,” said Donovan, who spoke to members gathered for a reception of the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP).
But Donovan noted that there is still a long way to go on the civil rights issue that has rapidly been gaining ground in recent months and years. Noting President Obama’s strong support of marriage equality and recent same-sex marriage cases brought to the U.S. Supreme Court, Donovan added, “There is still an urgent need for legal protections based on sexual orientation.” The 45-year Fair Housing Act does not include sexual orientation as a protected class.
NAGLREP Founder and CEO Jeff Berger said he was delighted by Donovan’s appearance at the meeting and his commitment to ending discrimination in housing faced by the LGBT community. The movement clearly has momentum, he said.
Berger cited the group’s drive, working with Wisconsin REALTORS®, to get sexual orientation included as protected classes in the NAR Code of Ethics. That change was approved by NAR’s board of directors at the Midyear Meetings in 2010. Now, an effort is underway to add Code of Ethics protection based on gender orientation. The proposal will be voted on by the NAR Delegate Body at its meeting in November. Berger also hopes to get NAR to include LGBT data in future versions of its Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers and Member Profile. “It will give REALTORS® a truer picture of who is in their markets if lesbians and gays and same-sex couples were acknowledged,” Berger said.
By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Although not without dissent, the National Association of REALTORS®’ Board of Directors passed a recommendation at the 2010 Midyear Legislative Meetings today to amend Article 10 of the Code of Ethics to prevent discrimination against colleagues or consumers on the basis of sexual orientation. The change, which met with applause, was passed unanimously by the Professional Standards Committee earlier in the week.
Here’s the article with amended language (additions are underlined): Continue reading »
By Robert Freedman, senior editor, REALTOR® Magazine
It’s tempting to show new customers around neighborhoods you’ve selected because they would seem to fit them perfectly. But you do that at your peril. As you’ll see in this short video, stumbling into a situation in which your actions have the effect of steering, a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, isn’t hard to do whenever you try to ingratiate yourself with customers by trying to do their thinking for them.
The key message in the video is that, before you start talking to a customer as a friend would to a friend, sharing your thoughts on what makes a neighborhood a good fit for them, stop yourself. The risk is that, by biasing their opinions about a neighborhood, your words could have the effect of steering.