MALVERN, PA — The Tri-County Suburban REALTOR® membership is joining millions of other REALTORS® this April to celebrate Fair Housing Month, recommitting to fair and equitable treatment for all homebuyers and renters.
“Treating clients fairly is something REALTORS® subscribe to with the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics, and in fact, our Code of Ethics also prohibits discrimination against clients based on sexual orientation and gender identity” said Tri-County Suburban REALTORS® Chairman Vince Range. “It is not something we take lightly. We believe everyone has the right to choose where they want to live, and we’re committed to being honest and impartial when it comes to fair housing and upholding the law.”
To help members learn more about Fair Housing issues, Tri-County Suburban is celebrating the month through several initiatives including:
- Launching a new four-step nine-month Call-To-Action Program: “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Matters” which allows members to demonstrate their understanding of and express their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion
- Hosting a free-to-members webinar on “Navigating Issues of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Housing” featuring education staff from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
- Offering five sections of the Pennsylvania-required continuing education course “Diversity, Fair Housing and Inclusion”
- Promoting the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® webinar “Fair Housing: Government’s Role in Segregation”
“We’re excited to provide this wide range of training options this month,” said Tri-County President / CEO Anne Marie Matteo. “Together we can find solutions to create better paths to eliminate housing discrimination and foster inclusivity and diversity throughout our membership and the communities they serve.”
In addition, earlier in the year, Tri-County Suburban staff completed the NAR certification “At Home With Diversity.” The certification helps people work successful with and within a rapidly changing multicultural market and helps them develop professional guidelines for working with people in the increasingly multicultural real estate market.
“We’re proud to provide this variety of opportunities for all our members to better understand issues of diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Range. “We’re also proud of our staff for recognizing the importance of the issue and completing the certification to better understand all our members.”
The federal Fair Housing Act, which was passed in April 1968, protects the rights of those searching to rent or buy a home by banning discrimination in housing-related transactions based on seven protected classes: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and familial status. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act protects against housing discrimination in the commonwealth and includes two additional protected classes: age (over 40) and users, handlers or trainers of assistance animals for persons with disabilities.
Fair housing extends well beyond working with your REALTOR®. Discrimination has happened with mortgage lenders, appraisers and homeowners’ insurance when someone is treated differently due to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status. “Redlining” is also a form of discrimination when banks and insurance companies deny services to residents of certain areas based on the race or national origin of the residents in the neighborhood where their homes are located.
“Being treated fairly when going through the homebuying or renting process is of utmost importance,” Range added. “Seeking different professional opinions is a good way to confirm you are getting a fair treatment.”
If consumers believe they have experienced a fair housing issue, they should contact the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission at phrc.pa.gov.