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Housing Links
MAR
Michigan Association of Realtors 


Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan

Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan
Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan

Michigan Department of Civil Rights
MI Dept. Civil Rights

MSHDA
Michigan State Housing Development Authority

HUD
HUD

NAR
National Association of Realtors

NFHA
National Fair Housing Advocate Online

 

Sample Policy

This is a good example of a broker/sales associate policy regarding fair housing.

* Fair Housing and the Real Estate Sales Associate

– POLICY STATEMENT

– broker is unequivocally and firmly committed to the principle of equal opportunity in housing and the provision of equal professional services without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.
– Fair housing is a serious matter. broker has the legal, ethical and moral responsibility to do everything in its power to prevent any sales associate or employee associated with the company from committing any act or making any statement that could be perceived in any way discriminatory based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. All sales associates must be aware of company policy concerning listing property, showing homes, negotiating offers and serving the needs of buyers, sellers, property owners and prospective tenants without discriminatory effect.
– The information in this manual sets forth those policies. They have been developed to ensure the company and all its sales associates comply with both the letter and the spirit of the fair housing laws. These policies ARE NOT RECOMMENDATIONS; everyone associated with the company must follow them.
– broker may be responsible for the acts of sales associates in fair housing matters. This company may not be in a position to defend associates charged with such violations unless these policies and procedures are strictly followed. Therefore, acts of discrimination will be grounds for termination of employment or the independent-contractor agreement.
* Fair Housing Officer
– broker employs a fair housing officer who is responsible for training and will facilitate fair housing issues and concerns. Cooperation with the fair housing officer is required during investigations of alleged discrimination or in the review of equal service records.

* Public Commitment
– broker is firmly and unequivocally committed to the provision of equal professional services and to the principle of fair housing for all. The procedures and requirements that follow are designed to implement that commitment, and all associated with the company are expected to share in that commitment and its implementation.

* Poster
– The NAR/HUD-developed fair housing poster, which includes the Code of Equal Opportunity in Housing, is displayed in a prominent place in each office.

* Advertising and Marketing
– All advertising for the sale or rental of housing will indicate to the public that the housing is open to all persons and is designed to attract buyers and renters without regard to race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.
– All brochures, circulars, billboards and direct-mail advertising will include the official equal housing opportunity slogan or logotype.

– All forms of advertising, including business cards, will contain the official equal housing opportunity slogan or logotype.
– All advertising paid for by sales associates must comply with all equal housing guidelines and be approved by the sales manager/fair housing officer.
* Solicitation/Canvassing for Listings
– Although canvassing is a common method for obtaining listings, uninvited solicitations have, in some instances, been construed as panic peddling. Prior to a canvassing campaign, the sales associate and sales manager must inform the fair housing officer of the area and general message of the canvass. The fair housing officer has the authority to delay the canvass for review by the broker, who retains final authority on canvassing campaigns that may raise issues related to fair housing. Phone and fax solicitations are subject to legal restrictions other than those found in fair housing laws.

* Training
– All sales associates will attend training in fair housing law obligations and the company’s fair housing procedures. Such training will be provided in-house and at the Association of REALTORS®’ new member orientation.
– broker provides ongoing training in fair housing law obligations and the company’s fair housing procedures. Staff meetings will address fair housing issues on a regular basis. All sales associates are encouraged to raise fair housing concerns for discussion.
– All sales associates will receive printed materials/booklets related to fair housing, which must be read, understood and complied with. Training, discussion and quizzes relating to these printed material/booklets will be ongoing.

* Equal Professional Service Procedures
– All those associated with the company will provide equal professional service without regard to a buyer, seller or prospective tenant’s race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. Areas where consistent service will be provided include, but are not limited to, the following:

– Arranging appointments and making callbacks
– Greeting prospects when entering or calling the office
– Acts of courtesy and hospitality
– Initial meeting to discuss needs
– Qualifying and financing information requested and given
– Personal information required
– Availability, location and quality of properties presented for consideration and showing
– Keeping appointments
– Follow-up procedures

* Prohibited Actions
* During the conduct of business, no sales associate will make any statement or perform any act that could:
– Imply that the presence or anticipated presence in a neighborhood of persons of any race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin will, or may have, results such as the lowering of property values, changing the composition of the block or neighborhood, making the area less safe or contributing to a decline in the quality of schools.
– Imply that persons of a particular race, color religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin will be less able to obtain financing on a property.
– Imply that we adhere to any racial, color, sexual, family, religious, national origin or handicap stereotypes, that might result in different treatment of minority groups in the sale or purchase of housing. This includes telling jokes, making derogatory remarks to other sales associates or employees or to agents or employees of another company, to a buyer or seller or anyone who might become a buyer or seller or who might be in a position to report our remarks to others.

– Comments: While remarks may be made and jokes may be told with no discriminatory intent on the part of the speaker, a listener may interpret such statements to indicate a willingness on our part to discriminate. It should be emphasized that when we hear such remarks and statements and remain silent, our silence is interpreted as assent.

– Any sales associate or employee who hears such remarks must recognize the danger to the livelihood of all of us in the company in allowing them to pass unnoticed. The license of the person who made the remarks, as well as the licenses of those who hear it or know about it and do nothing, may be in jeopardy.

– It is the responsibility of all of us at broker to assist others who may be unknowingly in violation. For your own protection it is suggested that upon hearing or learning of questionable statements or incidents, the sales associate or employee should disassociate himself or herself from the sentiment expressed and seek assistance directly from the company’s fair housing officer.

* No sales associate shall make any representation, either directly, or by innuendo, that a neighborhood will be difficult/easy to sell because of the presence or absence of persons of a particular race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin-that it is more or less safe, that schools are better or not as good, or that property values are increasing or decreasing.

* No sales associate shall refuse to list or show a property in a market area served by the company because of the presence/absence of persons of any particular race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.
* Listing Procedures and Working with Sellers
– While making any listing presentation or listing property occupied as, or intended for occupancy as a residence by one or more persons, the following procedures shall be followed:
– Fair housing law must be discussed with a seller at the time of listing, the fair housing brochure reviewed and unequivocal commitment to abide by the law obtained, as follows:

– Give a “What Everyone Should Know about Equal Opportunity in Housing” brochure to the sellers.
– Review the contents of the brochure.
– Read the fair housing clause contained in the listing agreement to the sellers and obtain the sellers initials agreeing to abide by said clause.
– Refuse any listing where the sellers are not in agreement.

– Any seller who refuses to abide by the law, and whose listing was therefore refused by the licensee, must be reported immediately to the fair housing officer, sales manager or broker.

– Any seller who makes a home unavailable for showing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin shall be reported to the fair housing officer, sales manager or broker.

– Any apparent or suspected discriminatory act or statement on the part of a seller in rejecting or countering an offer must be reported immediately. Proper guidance in what to relay back to the buyer must be obtained prior to delivery of the rejection or counteroffer by checking with the fair housing officer, sales manager or broker.

* Working with Prospective Buyers
– Consistent interviewing and qualifying techniques must be used with all buyers, and adequate records must be maintained by sales associates to demonstrate that all buyers are treated equally. Using consistent and systematic procedures, the sales associate will obtain objective information regarding the prospect’s needs and wants, let the customer set the limits and provide a variety of choices.

* Buyer Representation Agreement Fair Housing Language
– It is the policy of broker to abide by all local, state and federal laws, which prohibit discriminating against any individual or group of individuals for any reason whatsoever.
– The sales associate has no duty to disclose the racial, ethnic or religious composition of any neighborhood, community or building, nor whether persons with disabilities are living in a home or facility, except that the agent may identify housing facilities meeting the needs of a disabled buyer.

* Financial Qualifications
– All sales associates will use consistent and uniform methods to qualify all prospects.
– Information on all financing options identified by the company will be provided to the prospect.
– Under no circumstances is any prospect to be directed to, or away from, any specific type of financing, including FHA, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.
* Property Offered and Shown
– A list of properties will be prepared for every prospect in the area requested by the prospect. When a prospect does not request a specific area, all areas should be designated. These are to be reviewed with the prospects so they (NOT THE SALES ASSOCIATE) can determine the properties they would like to see. A copy of each list must be retained in the sales associate’s prospect files.
– All prospects will be informed that any available property in the market area, within the buyer’s price range and objective criteria, is available for showing, and sales associates will offer to show any such properties. Additionally, sales associates will offer to show properties in other geographic areas, when those properties are otherwise within the buyer’s price range and objective criteria. If the sales associate is not familiar with the geographic area, it may be advisable to refer the purchaser to a sales associate more knowledgeable in that community.

* Working with Cooperating Brokers/Agents
– All sales associates and employees will be equally cooperative with brokers and agents who are working with minority buyers, or with agents who we know or think are working with minority buyers, as they are with all other brokers and agents in terms of setting up showings, making keys available, and setting appointments to present offers or conducting negotiations.

* Recordkeeping
– Sales associates must keep records for all properties and all prospects. These records should be completed after the first contact with a prospect in which such identifying information as name, phone number, or address are obtained or after the first in-person contact.
– Sales associate’s prospect records must be kept on file for at least five years. These files are to be marked with a prospect’s name and dates of service (first and last). These records or files remain the property of broker .
– The sales associate must provide the company with the “Disclosure Regarding Real Estate Agency Relationships” form on each prospect.
– If the sales associate enters into a buyer agency agreement with the prospect, the “Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement” must be promptly provided to the company.
* Hiring and Recruitment Policies
– broker will affirmatively recruit persons of all racial and ethnic groups, of both sexes, with and without disabilities, and individuals otherwise protected from discrimination by the Fair Housing Act, as salaried employees and independent contractors.
– All advertising for salaried employees and independent contractors will contain the phrase “Equal Employment Opportunity.” Each salaried employee and independent contractor, as a condition of employment or contract with the firm, must sign the following agreement:
– I have attended a fair housing seminar and have been given written information about fair housing laws and company policy and procedures. I understand what is required of me and agree to comply with all applicable fair housing laws and related policies and procedures in conducting business.
* Community Participation
– broker is part of the community and encourages participation in fair housing and community outreach activities. The fair housing officer will coordinate such company participation and should be informed of all community fair housing concerns.
* Responses to Possible Discrimination
– Alleged acts of discrimination, whether by sales associates of this or another firm or by members of the public, are to be immediately brought to the attention of the fair housing officer. It is the policy of this company to cooperate in the investigation of fair housing complaints and, when appropriate, to file complaints on our sales associates’ behalf.
– When working with prospects or clients who may be victims of discrimination, the fair housing officer will determine how best to assist them in the protection of their fair housing rights. When a client refuses to comply with fair housing laws, broker will disassociate itself from the listing.

* Report Incidents of Harassment
– Any incident of harassment of sellers, buyers, or sales agents in violation of fair housing laws will promptly be reported to the fair housing officer, the broker and appropriate authorities, which may include local or state police, local or state human rights agencies, the U. S. Department of Justice, HUD and the FBI.

* Quality Control
– The management of broker will review compliance with these procedures on a regular basis. All sales associates must cooperate with that review and will provide copies of records when requested.
* Corrective Action and Discipline
– The fair housing officer and broker/owner will review any apparent act or statement in violation of these procedures or fair housing laws and will decide on further action. Depending on the severity of the act or statement and the relationship between the sales associate and the company, actions may include further training and education or termination of the independent contractor agreement.

* Reporting Acts of Discrimination
– When working in the housing market, you may encounter situations which appear to be discriminatory and in violation of fair housing laws. In order to protect the prospective home seeker’s rights to equal opportunity in housing and to keep yourself from participating in those discriminatory acts, you need to take the following steps:
– If the party discriminating is your client or is not a client of any other REALTOR®:
– Talk to the party who appears to be violating the law and explain fair housing laws to that person. Ask that person to act in a nondiscriminatory fashion. This often resolves the matter and results in the home seeker obtaining access to housing as guaranteed by fair housing laws. Contact the company fair housing officer, the broker and the company attorney to follow up with a letter summarizing your discussion.

– If the party discriminating is a client of another REALTOR®:
– Talk to the REALTOR® and explain your concerns. Ask the other REALTOR® to speak with the client to end the discriminatory behavior. Contact the company fair housing officer, the broker and the company attorney to follow up with a letter summarizing your discussion.

– If the discrimination continues and the party discriminating is your client:
– End your relationship with that client; i.e., terminate the listing. Inform the home seeker regarding what has occurred and your belief that discrimination was involved. Provide the home seeker with information on where to file a complaint. Contact the company fair housing officer, the broker and the company attorney to follow up with a letter to the client and to the home seeker summarizing your discussion.
– If the discrimination continues and the party discriminating is not your client:
– Inform the home seeker regarding what has occurred and your belief that discrimination was involved. Provide the home seeker with information on where to file a complaint. Contact the company fair housing officer, the broker and the company attorney to follow up with a letter to the home seeker summarizing your discussion.
– If the discrimination continues and the party is another REALTOR®:
– In addition to the above, you may file an ethics complaint with the Association of REALTORS® alleging violation of Article 10 of the Code of Ethics.

– AGENCIES TO WHOM ACTS OF DISCRIMINATION MAY BE REPORTED:
– broker Fair Housing Officer and Management
– U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
– State and local government human rights or civil rights agencies

* Protect Your Own Fair Housing Rights
– You may also have a cause of action against the discriminating party and may file a complaint on your own behalf.

– You may report any incident of discrimination to an appropriate agency without filing a complaint.

* Cultural Diversity
– Sales associates MUST respect the cultural diversity of other sales associates and employees in the company and their individual rights to self-identification. The tenets of fair housing and civil rights apply equally to all activities within the offices of broker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quiz

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Take our online Fair Housing quiz.
 

 
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This site thanks local governments, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Launchscore.com and Hard Drive Recovery Associates for their kind support.