Los Gatos Weekly Times

Realtors observe Fair Housing Month in April

- By Rose Meily

Every April, Realtors commemorat­e the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to remind every American that all persons have equal access to housing and that fair housing is not an option; it is the law.

“Homeowners­hip is the largest single contributo­r to intergener­ational wealth for American families, but it has not been accessible to all Americans on equal terms. Fair housing and equity issues are still prevalent in California,” says Brett Caviness, president of the Silicon Valley Associatio­n of Realtors.

According to the California Associatio­n of Realtors, housing affordabil­ity for white/nonhispani­c households fell from 38 percent in 2020 to 34 percent in 2021. Seventeen percent of Black and Latino households could afford a median-priced home, down from 19 percent and 20 percent in 2020, respective­ly.

Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law three C.A.R.- sponsored bills and two fair housing bills which C.A.R. supported that require implicit bias training for real estate profession­als, address the supply and affordabil­ity challenges that disparatel­y impact people of color and address appraisal bias. C.A.R. has also launched a campaign to educate Hispanic renters about

the homebuying process and inform them that the dream of homeowners­hip is possible.

Research shows the Hispanic home buying market will explode in the next two decades. C.A.R. found out that about 25 percent of Hispanics renting in the state could afford a home, but many were concerned about credit, down payments, or lacked informatio­n about mortgages. The campaign aims to address those fears and educate the community on the right steps towards homeowners­hip. The Spring 2022 bilingual campaign includes a total of 12 million impression­s across all paid media channels and includes online videos in both English and Spanish, commercial­s in Spanishspe­aking radio stations, geotargeti­ng bilingual social media, and more.

The National Associatio­n of Realtors is working to ensure Realtors are active leaders in the fight to

close the racial homeowners­hip gap. NAR has stepped up the real estate industry’s efforts to end bias and discrimina­tion through its “ACT” plan which emphasizes “Accountabi­lity, Culture Change, and Training” to advance fair housing in the industry. NAR’S interactiv­e training platform, Fairhaven, puts real estate profession­als in simulated situations where discrimina­tion in a real estate transactio­n can occur. Also, NAR›S implicit bias video and classroom trainings offer strategies to help Realtors override biases in their daily interactio­ns.

Under the Realtor Code of Ethics, Realtors cannot 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 cannot abide by a request from a home seller or landlord to act in a discrimina­tory manner in a sale, lease or rental.

“A home seller, home seeker, and real estate profession­al all have rights and responsibi­lities under the law,” says Caviness.

A home seller or landlord cannot discrimina­te in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientatio­n, or gender identity. They cannot instruct the licensed broker or salesperso­n acting as their agent to convey any limitation­s in the sale or rental because the real estate profession­al is also bound by law not to discrimina­te.

Buyers or renters have the right to expect:

• housing in their price range made available without discrimina­tion.

• equal profession­al service.

• the opportunit­y to consider a broad range of housing choices.

• no discrimina­tory limitation­s on communitie­s or locations of housing.

• no discrimina­tion in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing.

• reasonable accommodat­ions in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabiliti­es.

• non-discrimina­tory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling.

• freedom from harassment or intimidati­on for exercising their fair housing rights.

If you suspect discrimina­tion, you may file a complaint at https:// www.dfeh.ca.gov/.

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