Fair Housing

Fair housing is more than a list of dos and don’ts, rights and penalties, and mandatory continuing education. As stewards of the right to own, use and transfer private property, fair housing protects our livelihood and business as REALTORS® and depends on a free, open market that embraces equal opportunity.

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Fair Housing Resources for REALTORS®

Get Involved

Fair Housing Challenge: Stand Up for Racial Equity

To complete the challenge, simply visit the components listed below, and then fill out the confirmation form to indicate completion of each task.

Stand Up to the Challenge!
Watch video below to learn more


Fairhaven is a new, online, immersive simulation that uses the power of storytelling to make learners confront fair housing discrimination in scenarios that we hope feel real. Learners in the fictional town of Fairhaven play the role of an agent. In the simulation, they work against the clock to close four deals. As learners interact with clients and colleagues in each scenario, they will confront some form of discrimination—based on race, national origin, disability, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity. The scenarios in Fairhaven are inspired by real fair housing cases, and by conversations held with NAR members.

Implicit Bias Training Video

The new online workshop helps REALTORS® understand how our unconscious brains categorize information and stereotypes, and offers practical tools to override hidden biases. The workshop offers many “de-biasing” practices that not only help to reduce bias, but also improve our relationships with all the people we encounter—being more responsive, growing our networks, and generating more business. 

At Home with Diversity Certification

At Home With Diversity is an educational experience designed to present a picture of the changing face of the real estate industry. More importantly, the class teaches REALTORS® how to work effectively with—and within—a rapidly changing multicultural market.

NAR’s Fair Housing Action Plan

Watch this video and find out how NAR’s ACT! Initiative addresses potential discrimination issues by providing real estate professionals with training, resources & more.

NAR Code of Ethics

In addition to the law, REALTORS® abide by the NAR Code of Ethics. Article 10 imposes obligations upon Realtors® and is also a firm statement of support for equal opportunity in housing. Article 10 states:

REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Advertising and Marketing – HUD

What Is Prohibited?

In nearly all housing, including private housing, public housing, and housing that receives federal funding, the Fair Housing Act prohibits the making, printing and publishing of advertisements that indicate a preference, limitation or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. The prohibition applies to publishers, such as newspapers and directories, as well as to persons and entities who place real estate advertisements in newspapers and on websites. It also applies where the advertisement itself violates the Act, even if the property being advertised may be exempt from the provisions of the Act. Other federal civil rights laws may also prohibit discriminatory advertising practices.

Examples of advertising that may violate the Act include phrases such as “no children,” which indicates discrimination on the basis of familial status, or “no wheelchairs,” which indicates disability discrimination.

What Type of Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing May Be Required?

Federal law requires that applicants for participation in HUD’s subsidized and unsubsidized housing programs pursue affirmative fair housing marketing policies. This is to help ensure that individuals of similar income levels in the same housing market area have a like range of housing choices available to them regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.

Filing a Complaint

If you believe you have experienced housing discrimination involving advertising or marketing, you can file a complaint with HUD.

Additional Resources

Fair Housing from Real Estate Brokerage Essentials

Real estate brokers are subject to a web of federal, state and local fair housing laws that are intended to eradicate discriminatory conduct in the sale or rental of dwellings and promote residential integration. The methods of enforcing these laws are varied and the penalties that can be exacted for a violation are severe. For most real estate firms, the practical effect of a finding of liability is a serious financial loss, coupled with public embarrassment and reputational loss. 

To reduce risk, real estate brokers should consider offering comprehensive education and training of all sales associates and staff to ensure a thorough understanding of the obligations and prohibitions outlined in fair housing laws. This chapter of Real Estate Brokerage Essentials includes:

  • Identifying the sources of fair housing laws—federal, state and local—and prohibited conduct;
  • Advertising guidelines;
  • Developing a brokerage-wide compliance program;
  • Demonstrating your public commitment to fair housing;
  • Conducting agent trainings; and more.

Plus, you’ll receive:

  • A comprehensive equal services checklist;
  • A training module including two exercises;
  • 15 case summaries with real-world application of fair housing laws; and
  • Sample forms for compliance with internal policies.

Noncompliance with fair housing laws is a risk that responsible real estate brokers simply cannot assume as a cost of doing business. Download this chapter for free and re-energize your fair housing compliance program.