Getting To Know With Real Estate Professional

For The Real Estate Professional

As a home seller or home seeker, you should know that the term REALTOR identifies a licensed professional in real estate who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. Not all licensed real estate brokers and salespersons are members of the National Association, and only those who are can identify themselves as REALTORS. They conduct their business and activities in accordance with a strict Code of Ethics.

As agents in a real estate transaction, licensed brokers or salespersons are prohibited by law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. A request from the home seller or landlord to act in a discriminatory manner in the sale, lease or rental cannot legally be fulfilled by the real estate professional.

The Equal Opportunity Program

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS has developed a Fair Housing Program to provide resources and guidance to REALTORS in ensuring equal professional services for all people.

The Code of Ethics

Article 10 of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Code of Ethics requires that “REALTOR shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. REALTORS shall not be a party to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin”.

A REALTOR pledges to conduct business in keeping with the spirit and letter of the Code of Ethics. Article 10 imposes obligations upon REALTORS and is also a firm statement of support for equal opportunity in housing.

The Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Agreement (VAMA)

The Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Agreement (VAMA), negotiated with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development outlines a program of voluntary compliance in which REALTORS voluntarily agree to certain activities and programs to acquaint the community with the availability of equal housing opportunity, to establish office procedures to ensure that there is no denial of equal professional service, to make materials available which will explain this commitment and to work with other groups within the community to identify and remove barriers to fair housing.

Further Assistance

Local Boards of REALTORS will accept complaints alleging violations of the Code of Ethics filed by a home seeker who alleges discriminatory treatment in the availability, purchase or rental of housing. Local Boards of REALTORS have a responsibility to enforce the Code of Ethics through professional standards procedures and corrective action in cases where a violation of the Code of Ethics is proven to have occurred.

Complaints alleging discrimination in housing may be filed with the nearest office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or by calling HUD’s toll free number 1-800-669-9777.