The key to complying with the Fair Housing Act is having good company policies and following them. Real estate companies and their agents cannot engage in discriminatory practices or allow their clients to do so and need to be able to show that is the case. Proving you do not engage in discriminatory conduct or allow your clients to do so is not easy.
The following questions will allow you to assess your company’s exposure and suggest areas for improvement. If you answer “no” to any of the questions below, evaluate and adjust your office practices accordingly:
- Do you have a written Fair Housing policy?
- Do you publicize your commitment to Fair Housing in your office, in your advertising, and to sellers and buyers?
- Is Fair Housing training required in your company?
- Have you developed procedures to provide equal professional service?
- Do you review your offices’ compliance with your procedures on a regular basis?
- Do you have a corrective action policy?
- Do you regularly review and modify your procedures to respond to changes in the law or new Fair Housing issues and to correct deficiencies in your office?
- Do you have a mechanism for feedback from customers and prospects?
Help with developing written policies, implementing procedures, conducting training, and even handy forms are available from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) by visiting their website at www.realtors.org NAR recommends the following Fair Housing policy statement: “This company conducts business in accordance with all Federal, state, and local Fair Housing laws. It is our policy to provide housing opportunities to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, or national origin. The company’s Fair Housing procedures are not recommendations. They must be followed by everyone associated with the company.”