Can landlords legally deny renting to a gay couple because they’re gay? Can a Realtor refuse to negotiate on behalf of a transgendered woman because she’s transgendered? Can a builder jack up the price of a home when selling to a bisexual male because they know he’s bisexual? Maybe- there’s a little bit of a grey area here.
If you’re a licensed Realtor, you should have memorized the Fair Housing laws prohibiting discrimination against anyone based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap. But nowhere in there does it mention sexual orientation.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, laws are different from state to state and in some it is most certainly illegal for the real estate industry to discriminate, but in some states, the GLBTQ community is still legally discriminated against and refused real estate services and equal housing opportunities.
To go above and beyond local, state and national laws, Realtors have always upheld the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics wherein Article 10 outlines the “Duties to the Public” which reflects the national Fair Housing law that forbids denying services for reasons of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap. Nowhere in the code are Realtors required to serve anyone with sexual orientation disagreeable to them. Until now…
According to the NAR, the Code of Ethics Article 10 has been amended:
Article 10: Equal Rights Amendment Passes:
The NAR Delegate Body approved an amendment to Article 10 of the Code of Ethics to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In a roll-call vote, more than 93 percent of the Delegate Body voted in favor of the amendment. The Delegate Body decision confirms a vote by the Board of Directors in May.
As a personal note, AG strongly supports and applauds the measure taken that Realtors’ ethics supersede federal law so that no matter if it is legal or not locally, discrimination based on sexual orientation will not be tolerated from Realtors, a measure taken by Realtors. This amendment however will come with some possibly negative ramifications which we will be discussing in the future.
We believe housing to be a basic human right that no one should be denied and we are astonished that anyone (especially the 7% that voted against the Article 10 amendment) would find it necessary to discriminate because of sexual orientation and we hope HUD follows in NAR’s footsteps in this case.