The global discussion surrounding inequality and discrimination has reached a new level, and it is important for industries, including real estate, to take this opportunity to learn and grow. The truth is this is not a simple issue and there are lots of challenges that both individuals and real estate companies will face as they move forward to eliminate discriminatory systems.
In the real estate industry, there are historical examples of systemic discrimination that can help put this into perspective: redlining. This usually involved housing policies that showed prejudice against Black Americans. Financial institutions like banks are often engaged in redlining by regulating mortgages to certain customers in certain neighborhoods. This practice has prevented Black Americans from purchasing homes, resulting in a situation in which one action causes many other similar actions that affected jobs, safety, education, and access to food, amenities, and services.
But when the Fair Housing Act and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act was signed into law, it helped minimize the blatant discrimination and inequality although it did not eliminated unfairness altogether. As awareness and familiarity around the subject of equality and justice has reached majority of the public, it gave rise to supporting and fostering equality, diversity, and inclusivity in the real estate industry.
With the growing clamor to end injustice in the housing industry, this is the perfect time for you to make sure that your realtor is someone who supports equity, equality, and diversity. Someone who encourages and supports the Fair Housing Act that hopes to have an affirmative advertising and marketing program where there are no hindrances and hurdles when it comes to obtaining housing just because they are part of a certain race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
All real estate agents and the company they represent are legally mandated to support and espouse federal fair housing laws that ban discrimination. Today, a lot of states have more implemented inclusive fair housing laws that now include gender identity and sexual orientation protections. As a housing professional, real estate agents are required to provide prospective clients equal service regardless of what or who they are. It is their job to fully comprehend unequal impact and recognize ways in which they might be unintentionally violating the Fair Housing Act—and immediately change their conduct.