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Quick Guide: Fair Housing Laws


A convenient PDF has been created and is available to download.

  1. EQUAL ACCESS TO HOUSING FOR ALL: All housing in California is available to all persons. Discrimination (the practice of treating someone unequally) is prohibited by law.
  2. LAWS: Multiple federal and state laws, along with applicable local ordinances, make up “fair housing laws.” Primarily, these laws are the: Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA); California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA); and California Unruh Civil Rights Act (Unruh).
  3. WHO/WHAT ENTITY IS REQUIRED TO COMPLY: Providers of housing accommodations – sellers, landlords, sublessors, property managers, real estate licensees, real estate firms, HOAs – or financial assistance services- lenders, insurance companies – are all subject to fair housing laws.
  4. PURPOSE: Prohibit discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of residential housing against any person based on that person’s belonging to, association with, possessing, or perceived membership in protected classes or characteristics.
  5. PROTECTED CLASSES/CHARACTERISTICS: The following list identifies protected classes and characteristics:
    • Race
    • Color
    • Ancestry
    • National Origin
    • Religion
    • Sex
    • Sexual Orientation
    • Gender
    • Gender Identity
    • Gender Expression
    • Marital Status
    • Age
    • Primary Language
    • Immigration Status
    • Medical Condition
    • Citizenship
    • Familial Status (family with child under 18)
    • Disability (Mental & Physical)
    • Members of military or Veterans
    • Source of Income (Section 8 Voucher)
    • Criminal History
    • Any arbitrary characteristic
  6. BEST PRACTICES to AVOID Violating Fair Housing Laws:
    • A. Selection of location/neighborhood, property features, price range and other considerations should come from the buyer/tenant.
    • B. Real estate licensees should provide complete and objective information to all clients based on the client’s selection criteria and not selectively provide information to clients based on protected class or characteristics.
    • C. Real estate licensees should provide the same professional courtesy in responding to all inquiries, sharing of information, and offers of assistance to all clients and prospects.
    • D. Housing providers should not make any statement or advertisement that directly or indirectly implies preference, limitation, or discrimination regarding any protected class or characteristic.
    • E. Housing providers should use a selection process relying on objective information about a prospective buyer’s offer or tenant’s application and not seek any information that may disclose any protected classes or characteristics. This will ensure the same qualification criteria and procedure will be used and equal terms and privileges will be made available.
    • F. Reasonable accommodation requests or reasonable modification requests should be handled in a prompt manner with an interactive process if immediate approval is not available.
    • G. Be aware of possible unconscious bias and act consciously to treat all equally.
  7. PENALTIES
    • A. Violations of various fair housing laws may result in monetary civil fines, injunctive relief, compensatory and/or punitive damages, and attorney fees and costs.
    • B. A violation of DRE regulations or real estate laws prohibiting housing discrimination by a real estate licensee may result in the loss or suspension of the licensee’s real estate license.
    • C. REALTOR® ORGANIZATIONS PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION: NAR Code of Ethics Article 10 prohibits discrimination in employment practices or in rendering real estate license services against any person because of race, color, religion, sex handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity by REALTORS®.

National Fair Housing Month


California Department of Real Estate Industry Advisory

1651 Exposition Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95815
(877) 373-4542
https://www.dre.ca.gov/

April is National Fair Housing Month, which commemorates the passage of the Fair Housing Act in April 1968. As part of its commitment to the principles of fair housing, the Department of Real Estate (DRE) wants to remind licensees about the important California laws intended to address housing discrimination.

Prohibitions on Housing Discrimination

Many California laws relate to prohibiting discriminatory housing practices. Among these are:

  1. The Unruh Civil Rights Act, which protects Californians from arbitrary and intentional discrimination by business establishments, including in housing and lending transactions, on the basis of personal characteristics;
  2. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which covers real estate-related transactions and, among other things, imposes liability for practices that have discriminatory effects, even if unintentional; and
  3. The Holden Act, which prohibits discrimination related to housing financing.

Last year, the state Legislature passed the Fair Appraisal Act, which will require that every sales contract for real property made after July 1, 2022, include a notice stating that the property appraisal must be unbiased, objective, and not influenced by personal characteristics. DRE licensees, among others, will be required to deliver this same notice when involved in the refinancing of a residential real estate property of up to four units.

Generally, discrimination in housing is illegal if it is based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, military or veteran status, familial status (such as households with children under 18), source of income, disability (mental and physical), medical condition, genetic information, age (with the exception of senior-only housing), citizenship, primary language, or immigration status.

Some of these protected characteristics are further defined by statute. For example, the definition of “sex” includes pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to either of these conditions. Additionally, definitions for some protected characteristics include the perception that the persons have one or more of these characteristics or that they are associated with a person who has or is perceived to have any of these characteristics.

California Real Estate Law

In addition, California Real Estate Law describes several prohibited practices (Commissioner’s Regulation 2780). The following conduct, when based on discriminatory intent, are some of the prohibited practices listed in the regulation:

  • Refusing to negotiate the sale, rental, or financing of a property.
  • Refusing to show, rent, sell, or finance a property, provide information about a property, or steering a person away from a property.
  • Discriminating in soliciting or negotiating the sale or purchase of property, in loan servicing, or in soliciting or negotiating mortgage loans.
  • Discriminating in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale, rental, or financing the purchase of property.
  • Representing to any person that property is not available for inspection, sale, or rental when such property is in fact available.
  • Processing an application more slowly or otherwise acting to delay or avoid the sale, rental, or financing of the purchase of property.
  • Refusing or failing to cooperate with or assist another real estate licensee in negotiating the sale, rental, or financing the purchase of property.
  • Soliciting sales, rentals, or listings of real estate from any person, but not from another person within the same area because of differences in a protected characteristic.
  • Providing information or advice to any person concerning the desirability of particular property or area that is different from information or advice given to any other person.
  • Making or publishing any notice or advertisement concerning the sale, rental, or financing of the purchase of property that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination.
  • Quoting or charging someone a price, rent, or cleaning or security deposit for a particular property that is different from the price, rent or security deposit quoted or charged to any other person because of a difference in a protected characteristic.
  • Making any effort to instruct or encourage licensees to engage in any discriminatory act in violation of a federal or state fair housing law.

Further, panic selling is specifically highlighted as a prohibited practice (Business and Professions Code section 10177(l) and Commissioner’s Regulation 2781). Panic selling involves soliciting the sale or lease of a residential property because of the loss of value, increase in crime, or decline in the quality of schools due to the presence or prospective entry into the neighborhood of a person of a protected characteristic.

As a part of reasonable supervision requirements, brokers must familiarize employees, affiliated licensees, and staff with the requirements of federal and state laws related to prohibiting discrimination (Business and Professions Code section 10177(h) and Commissioner’s Regulation 2725).

Department of Real Estate

DRE takes complaints about discrimination very seriously. We investigate complaints of discriminatory practices and will pursue disciplinary action against licenses, when appropriate. Additionally, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing enforces and prosecutes violations of FEHA and the Unruh Act. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) investigates complaints related to discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act and other civil rights violations in housing and community development programs. All of these agencies refer complaints to one another to make certain that all appropriate actions are considered and pursued.

DRE licensees should become familiar with all aspects of the fair housing laws that prohibit discrimination in housing and are strongly encouraged to advise their clients about the requirements of these laws. Additionally, regardless of instructions or requests received from their clients, licensees may not engage in, participate in, or assist any person to engage or participate in a discriminatory housing practice. Good faith participation in advancing a client’s demands that are discriminatory under FEHA is not a defense to civil or administrative liability or to a DRE license disciplinary proceeding.

DRE remains committed to educating licensees and the public about fair housing law requirements, enforcing violations when they occur, and working with licensees to reduce discrimination in housing.

Housing Diversity Committee Newsletter: April 2022


EVENTS

April 20th 11:30 am – 1pm: Building a Strong Business Credit Profile

About this event

As a highly successful realtor, broker, credit repair expert, and former law enforcement officer, Cornelius Jackson uses his wealth of skills and experience to run his company, CLJ Enterprise Inc. We want to help Realtists run their business like a business. Building a Strong Business Credit Profile allows Realtist to do several things:

  • Free Up Cash
  • Engage in Marketing and Advertising Consistently
  • Finance Cars, Equipment and even Investment Property in Business

Link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwocequqDkoGdFHgRUQHM6FQP4OJUFcUUDu

Live Link:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/building-a-strong-business-credit-profile-tickets-307110103587

HOW TO OBSERVE FAIR HOUSING MONTH

  1. Support to end discrimination in housingTake part in activities that support the elimination of housing discrimination in your community or country.
  2. Welcome people of different backgrounds to your neighborhoodGive a warm welcome to people moving in your community or belonging to a different background, race, or color.
  3. Arrange seminars to create awareness about housing discriminationPromote awareness for housing discrimination, let people know about this issue, and encourage them to raise their voices against it.  
  4. WHY IS FAIR HOUSING MONTH IMPORTANT
    1. Prohibits discrimination: Fair Housing Month helps in banning discrimination that is based on race, religion, gender, and family status.
    2. Prosper communities: It assists in breaking old patterns of segregation and builds a prosperous community.
    3. Promotes affordable housing: It has helped in making affordable housing possible for many working families belonging to different backgrounds, races, and colors.
    4. Nationaltoday.com

Fair Housing Grants

Fair Housing grants support state and local REALTOR® Associations’ activities that create or improve systems, programs, and policies that uphold fair housing laws and strengthen REALTORS® commitment to offering equal professional service to all.

Additional information available on the NAR Fair Housing website.

Tips and information to provide equal professional services for all, in compliance with the Fair Housing Act.
https://www.nar.realtor/fair-housing-corner

Housing Diversity Committee Meeting

Open to SRCAR® Members

We invite you to join us the 2nd Thursday of every month at 9:00am via zoom to share ideas and collaborate in bringing forth our mission.

Mission:
To foster unity, equity, diversity and inclusion in the real estate industry.

Meetings are currently online via Zoom

Deliberately Fair Housing

Check out the Deliberately Fair Housing Facebook group. Fair Housing & Equality for All! Please note this group is not monitored by SRCAR®

Click Here to Join

Complete the Fairhaven Training
Show your commitment to fair housing by accessing Fairhaven, NAR’s innovative training platform that uses the power of storytelling to help REALTORS® identify, prevent, and address discriminatory practices in real estate.

Click Here to Start


Housing Diversity Committee Newsletter: March 2022


Fostering unity, equity, diversity and inclusion in the real estate industry.


Upcoming Events & Resources

Temecula Valley Hospital and Southwest Healthcare System are pleased to invite the community to our Women’s Health Expo.

About this event

Fri, March 25, 2022
10:00 AM – 1:30 PM PDT

Discover the wide range of women’s healthcare programs and services provided by Temecula Valley Hospital, Inland Valley Medical Center and Rancho Springs Medical Center.

At the Expo, you can:

  • Learn about hospital services like cardiology, stroke care and gynecology
  • Learn from physician speakers about symptoms, risk factors and lifestyle changes
  • Get health screenings
  • Enjoy a delicious lunch
  • Meet our community partners … and more!

Register For This Event

AREAA Global Luxury Summit
2022 AREAA, Denver, CO
March 28-30, 2022
Four Seasons Hotel
Register here: https://cvent.me/5axb2q

2022 Women’s Health Expo
Mar 25th, 10:00am
Pechanga Resorr and Casino
Summit Ballroom
Temecula
Registration Link:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2022-womens-health-expo-registration-242960891567?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

International Women’s Day Celebration Circle
Carlsbad, CA
March 9th, 6:00pm
Registration Link:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/international-womens-day-celebration-circle-tickets-277274985947?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Free Women’s Only BJJ Self Defense 
March 27, 11:00am
EDJ Martial Arts Hemet
Registration Link:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/free-womens-only-bjj-self-defense-special-tickets-273993972347?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Housing Diversity Committee Meeting

Open to SRCAR® Members

We invite you to join us the 2nd Thursday of every month at 9:00am via zoom to share ideas and collaborate in bringing forth our mission.

Mission:
To foster unity, equity, diversity and inclusion in the real estate industry.

Meetings are currently online via Zoom

Deliberately Fair Housing

Check out the Deliberately Fair Housing Facebook group. Fair Housing & Equality for All! Please note this group is not monitored by SRCAR®

Click Here to Join

Complete the Fairhaven Training
Show your commitment to fair housing by accessing Fairhaven, NAR’s innovative training platform that uses the power of storytelling to help REALTORS® identify, prevent, and address discriminatory practices in real estate.

Click Here to Start


Housing Diversity Committee Newsletter: February 2022


Fostering unity, equity, diversity and inclusion in the real estate industry.


An annual celebration of African Americans’ powerful legacy, Black History Month has been honored in California—and nationwide—every February for nearly 100 years, beginning with Carter G. Woodson’s establishment of Negro History Week in 1926. This year, though you’ll find a few parades and festivals remain on pause, there are still plenty of ways to recognize Black excellence in the Golden State and reflect on the continued struggle for racial justice across the country. Click Here to read full article


Upcoming Events & Resources

Housing Diversity Committee Meeting

Open to SRCAR® Members

We invite you to join us the 2nd Thursday of every month at 9:00am via zoom to share ideas and collaborate in bringing forth our mission.

Mission:
To foster unity, equity, diversity and inclusion in the real estate industry.

Meetings are currently online via Zoom

Deliberately Fair Housing

Check out the Deliberately Fair Housing Facebook group. Fair Housing & Equality for All! Please note this group is not monitored by SRCAR®

Click Here to Join

Complete the Fairhaven Training
Show your commitment to fair housing by accessing Fairhaven, NAR’s innovative training platform that uses the power of storytelling to help REALTORS® identify, prevent, and address discriminatory practices in real estate.

Click Here to Start