April is Fair Housing Month and this year marks 43 years since the Fair Housing Act was passed. So I’m sad to say that, according to a study (this is a PDF file) by the National Fair Housing Alliance, discrimination in housing is still a very big problem.
There are also the recent Arizona immigration law SB 1070 and its copycat attempts in other jurisdictions that hide behind the fury of anti-immigrant sentiment to legalize sweeping civil rights violations.
We’ve taken a step in the right direction, but as our trends data and these political facts demonstrate, we’ve got a long road ahead.
Discrimination can be as blatant as a seller telling an agent “Don’t sell my house to those (substitute a protected class of your choosing) or a buyer has asked me about the racial makeup of a neighborhood. Then they usually say something like, “I know you’re not supposed to tell me this stuff, but you can still let me know, right?” Wink wink. Or it can be as subtle as an agent deciding not to show in a particular neighborhood based on the agent’s own perceptions and prejudices.
There is a fair housing quiz on the National Association of REALTORS® website and, since I’m a sucker for quizzes, I took this one. Thankfully, I got all 12 right. This is an area that I really pride myself on knowing what can be done and said.
So I challenge you to take the quiz. It’s for real estate professionals, so you may not know a few answers. Matter of fact, I’ll give you one – the answer to #7 is the second one.
I think you might find it to be an eye-opener.