Joe Yobaccio,  in San Gabriel, CA

Fair Housing violation in a listing ad? I used the words "Great family street with 25 kids," and have been told I may be in violation.

Asked by Joe Yobaccio, San Gabriel, CA Wed Jul 7, 2010

I'd like to get some feedback.

Help the community by answering this question:


Yup. All sorts of red flags with that phrase.

"Great family street": Could be considered discriminatory by singles and by same-sex couples. Also perhaps by empty-nesters.

Same with "with 25 kids." That could be read as suggesting that an individual or couple--or even a married husband and wife--without children wouldn't be welcomed or that the property might be inappropriate.

Look: We live in very sensitive times. You're not supposed to say "walk to shopping" because it could be considered discriminatory by people who are unable to walk--those in wheelchairs for instance. So you say "2 blocks to shopping." You're not supposed to say "Great schools" because one person's definition of "great" may not be the same as another's. So you say, "School districted ranked in top 10 nationwide by US News & World Report."

Check with your broker on language that could convey the idea of a "great family street" without explicitly saying so.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 7, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Mack, HUD defines a family as 1 or more people.

He said a great family street. (That means it is a great street for anyone with 1 or more people in the household.)
The street has 25 kids on it.

Would it be any different if he had stated there are 3 houses and one camp on this 2 mile long road? Back long ago I knew such a road.
Would if be different if he had said there are 60 cows on the road?
What about 28 horses?
Is showing a fact that is undisputed illegal?

How could this violate anyone's anything? It is a good street for any size family consisting of 1 or more people.

If you have less than one person in your household you will not like it here? If less than one person you would not be here right???

Color me confused.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 8, 2010
Joe call your local board and talk to the Attorney there, or your broker may have a staff Attorney. Always be careful with this type of situation. Who says you are in violation?
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 8, 2010
Actually, Dan, to HUD, a family can consist of one person.

What HUD wants is for real estate agents to not discriminate on the basis of various protected classes, familial status being one of those. So far as HUD is concerned, discrimination isn't just active, but it's implied - by advertising that a particular property isn't friendly to a protected class.

This is something that I support wholeheartedly, BTW.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 7, 2010
I am not an agent...

That anyone could see this simple statement as steering is laughable. A great family street. That to me means families have parties in the road. 25 kids. That could be more likely to tell someone who hates kids to look elsewhere and they could appreciate the warning.

What is a family? 2 or more people who choose to be together. Family can be a father and son alone. A mother and daughter alone, a husband and wife, or 2 same sex people living together.

There are few singles indeed who do not want to have someone else close with them. That means in time they also would like to be part of a family.

We even have an extended family. Aunts, uncles, friends, and neighbors ALL can be included in the concept of an extended family. Some people grew up with an uncle who had no blood relation. That uncle was only a real friend and yet considered family.

Is it a violation? I have no idea. Some laws are stupid and so are some people who try to push them far past the limits of reason and respect.

Should it be a violation to a fair minded person not looking to find something wrong so they can complain? NO!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 7, 2010
No, you did not. For one thing, you wouldn't have wanted to warrant the number of potential playmates and babysitters. (I want to sue the agent because after I closed, I found out that only 17 kids lived on the street, and three of them were going to college . . .)

For another thing, this is part of your licensing class and core CE curriculum.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 7, 2010
It very well could be a violation. Check with your RE company's atty. You could also check with your board atty. Better yet, your MLS people will know the answer.

Debbie Albert, PA
Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 7, 2010
Yes, familial status shouldn't matter--the wording excludes, handicapped, singles, etc. When in doubt, omit possible discriminatory and "steering" words.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 7, 2010
Hi Joe,

If you ever have doubts about which way to go on wording, I'd definitely leave descriptive, suspect words out of the ads you're placing. It's so not worth the hassle. Keep thinking no-frills, simple, simple, simple.

Someone might have called on your ad, too.


Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 7, 2010
If it walks like a duck . . .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 7, 2010
Hi Joe,
I would call the CAR legal hotline and ask. The call is free to members.
Good Luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 7, 2010
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