This forum is one of my favorites because we do discuss important issues quite often. I subscribe to many such forums but this one is the most down to earth group and I find discussions here that are not about someone showing how smart they are or how much they can use a lot of technical jargon, it is just a group talking in everyday language and dealing with Real Life issues and concerns.
My dad used to say that "everyone has good intentions; they don't allways do the right things". Very few set out to discriminate, yet I see it every day, in simple things such as the inadvertent use of description of a listing that results in sterring, etc. I would hope all real estate proffessionals want to be fair and professional to everyone. However, the human factor is not something we do consciously; it is a deep set of priciples and values we draw from. We act on what we are taught as children as well as from the fears of the unknown.
Debbie and Mack, you're right on the point. We need these protections so that every human being is treated equally and fairly.
Sandra, one last thing -- I'm sure it's just your oversight, but you are aware that other non-Americans can buy real estate in the US, too, right?
". You can't save the world from predjudice, it is and always has been a fact of life. If someone doesn't like a certain class no matter the class, you are not going to change their views with a new regulation."
In my opinion - that's the VERY reason certain things need to be clarified through legislation - so that personal prejudice doesn't prevent someone from being treated equally and fairly.
Just because prejudice is a "fact of life" doesn't mean you ignore it, and hope it will go away....it's all the more reason we need to make sure prejudice doesn't get in the way of individual rights....or prevent someone from buying a home in the neighborhood they choose to live in.
"The Fair Housing Act, with some exceptions, prohibits discrimination in housing against families with children under 18. In addition to prohibiting an outright denial of housing to families with children, the Act also prevents housing providers from imposing any special requirements or conditions on tenants with custody of children."
As you can see, it in no way references sexual orientation .....it deals with discrimination against families with children.
There may be some homophobic landlords out there, for example, who need this freedom spelled out for them so that they cannot discriminate against gay couples.........unfortunately, we can't count on all people having the intelligence to treat everyone fairly.
Sandra, just curious why it bothers you enough to pose this question in the first place.......or has your position changed now that you see this "right" is not already covered under "familial status"?
As to whether it's "politically correct," let me ask if we should have a lower commission rate for female real estate agents than we do for men.
- Since when does taking a job remove the right to free speech and the ability to give an honest opinion?
Since the beginning of time?
For some, perhaps; I do not agree.
In America, homosexuals are allowed to live anyplace that they can afford. Having real estate brokers intervene by "steering" was wrong when it was done on a racial basis, and is wrong when it is done on the basis of sexual orientation, real or perceived.
I applaud Sandra for raising this topic and accepting these answers.
Debbie, I appreciate everything you have said, and you too Mack.
Donna, Thank you for summing up this discussion so neatly. I suppose regulation is needed because human beings do live what they have learned or out of fears of the unknown. It is just a little sad that these regulations are needed to control behavior. I am just a little touchy about more and more government control coming in to our lives. But that is a discussion for another day.
Thank you all for your feedback.
Well, we don't. We wouldn't need laws at all if people didn't do things like steal, murder, cheat, and yes, discriminate.
Seriously, Sandra, check out that wikipedia article. That is OUR history, the legacy of a previous generation of real estate agents, and the lengths they would go to simply to stir up business.
- I think that we need to stop classifying people at all.
People classify themselves, Sandra.
- People do have the right to live where they want and with whom they want. That is why I question whether we need more regulation imposed on us.
Well, one person's "regulation" is the General Public's right to equal treatment in the housing market. Are you suggesting that real estate agents should regain the right to steer clients based on their sexual orientation?
Agent: "You don't want to live here, this isn't a really gay place."
Buyer: "Uh, I'm not gay."
Agent: "Sure you are, big guy. Anyway, let's just stick to these really gay areas, OK?"
Everyone should have the same and equal rights in finding a place to live.
If we could count on people to always do the "right" thing, we wouldn't need to enact laws to cover these issues.
Unfortunately, we do need them.
So Dan, you think we should be able to "steer" clients, and that my opinion of whether a neighborhood is "good" or not matters?
Well, that would set us back a few decades now, wouldn't it!
Well, that would set us back a few decades now, wouldn't it!"
Not really. I am not saying to tell someone not to buy in an area because it is predominantly a certain race. I am not saying to refuse to show properties to people based on your concepts.
I am saying if a person asks a realtor for help the realtor should be able to give that help. What good is it to have a professional who knows the area and can not give out that information?
Most people use the internet to search for a house. No realtor wants to lose a client by saying stay away from that neighborhood because it is the wrong color. Most buyers would simply walk away and find someone else.
How many realtors have been unable to mention that the schools here have a 39% dropout rate and buying there if kids are involved could be a big mistake because of that? How many are unable to give basic facts (not opinions) about a neighborhood because the rules are so messed up?
Could I be in trouble for saying this is a nice family street with x many kinds on it? The answers were yes, that makes no logical sense. PC has gone to far already.
p.s. How can I know your orientation if you do not tell me? (I do not want to know either way)
I think these things need to be changed back. Allow agents to give honest opinions and facts instead of scaring them from steering clients so they say nothing helpful for fear of being sued or fined.
Since when does taking a job remove the right to free speech and the ability to give an honest opinion?