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Diversity At Home

By Elizabeth Elstien

This month is national Fair Housing Month. April 11, 2013 marks the 45th anniversary of the passage of the United States Fair Housing Law, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. This law created a national policy of fair housing without regard to race, color, creed, national original, sex, familiar status and handicap. It further encourages fair housing for all citizens.

The National Association of Realtors provides their agents with information to further foster diversity in real estate and provide professional services that are equal to all. Real estate agents must make housing available in your price range with no discrimination, provide you with a wide range of choices in any area, give those with disabilities the most reasonable accommodations possible, and not use discriminatory terms and conditions. These involved in the real estate transaction, such as lenders, appraisers or insurance agents, also must provide the same nondiscriminatory services.

Remember that real estate agents are human and may not realize that they are acting in a discriminatory fashion. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. However, if you explain why the action is offensive or inappropriate and the agent is still blatantly acting unfair, you can take action. No one can stop you from exercising your rights under the law.

If you suspect discrimination, contact the local real estate association to voice an ethics complaint. The local association has an obligation to enforce the Realtor Code of Ethics to determine if a violation of professional standards has occurred and to take appropriate action. Alleged discrimination complaints may also be filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and urban Development (HUD).

The Fair Housing law makes it illegal to practice discrimination in real estate and related fields so no one person is excluded from the home buying, selling or renting process. It is unfortunate, however, that it took a law to make it happen. Be at home with diversity.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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