April 2013 marks the 45th anniversary of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act, which strives to to ensure equal housing opportunity for all. Each year REALTORS® join the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and rest of the nation in recognizing April as Fair Housing Month.

REALTORS® play a vital role in ensuring fair housing for all and strive to make homeownership accessible to everyone. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) works to help create an environment where everyone can choose where they want to live and not be discriminated against as they seek to achieve the American dream of homeownership.

Carolyn Miller, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, whose members are also members of NAR, says REALTORS® abide by a Code of Ethics that states REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services and shall not be a party to any plan or agreement to discriminate against any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation.

“REALTORS® want all buyers and sellers to enjoy the benefits of a housing market free from discrimination,” says Miller.

On April 26, SILVAR is promoting Fair Housing Month by offering At Home With Diversity®, a course that teaches REALTORS® and other business professionals how to work effectively within a multicultural market. The full-day course addresses topics like diversity, fair housing and business planning development. For more information about At Home With Diversity®, call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100.

“Knowing how to work effectively with diverse populations can help you build business success in today’s multicultural real estate market,” adds Miller.

Under the law, a home seller or landlord cannot discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. They cannot instruct their real estate agent to convey any limitations in a sale or rental.

Buyers or renters have the right to expect housing will be available to them without discrimination, including:
• housing in their price range made available without discrimination.
• equal professional service.
• the opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices.
• no discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing.
• no discrimination in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing.
• reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities.
• non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling.
• freedom from harassment or intimidation for exercising their fair housing rights.

Buyers or renters who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year of the alleged discrimination.

HUD recently launched a new mobile application for iPhone and iPad that provides the public information about their housing rights and responsibilities. The app also provides information about the fair housing complaint process, and allows the public to access HUD’s toll-free discrimination hotline and link to HUD’s fair housing website: http://www.hud.gov/fairhousing

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