Los Gatos Weekly Times
Realtors observe Fair Housing Month in April
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/.