Agent2Agent in Pinetop>Question Details

Sandra Paulow, Real Estate Pro in Pinetop, AZ

Are we going too far trying to be politically correct by adding Sexual Orientation as a Protected Class under Fair Housing and the Code of Ethics?

Asked by Sandra Paulow, Pinetop, AZ Wed Jul 14, 2010

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Sandra Paulow’s answer
Thanks everyone. I wasn't sure if I wanted to pose this question last night but I thought, why not. Hearing from other agents in other parts of the Country help us all. I am fortunate to work in a very small community and many problems other agents in larger metro areas encounter are pretty foreign to us. I have always worked in small resort markets so hearing what other agents encounter is enlightening for me. I have to say I'm glad I don't have to deal with a lot of the scenarios many of you do. My job is quite easy compared to yours I am sure.

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.

Later all.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
BEST ANSWER
It is not about boxes or labels or anything like that. It is about humans, who deserve same and equal rights and protection.

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?
Web Reference: http://www.calcopm.net
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
Well Sandra, you're certainly entitled to your opinion, but based on your own words:

". 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.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
Taken (cut and pasted) from the Fair Housing Act regulations in regard to "Familial Status"....
.......................

"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"?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
I agree with Debbie Rose. I am surprised you feel the way you do about the subject Sandra. Before 1920 it was the accepted way of life that women were not allowed to vote in this country. Until 1973 homosexuality was labeled a disease, until it was changed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). My point is, we have no right to treat a client differently based on the color of their skin, sex, religion, or even their sexual preference and etc. I can go on listing examples, however it is your opinion and you are entitled to it.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
The alternative, of course, is to deny real estate services and equal access to housing because of people's sexual orientation, or even our perception of it.

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?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
No we are not going to far, they should be protected by the same rights the rest of us enjoy.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
- 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.

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.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
Thank you everyone for your thoughts on this. I knew this question was going to be controversial when I posted it. I thank you all for your responses.

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.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
- I feel that the more we try and regulate the more problems we create. We just need to treat everyone the same way period.

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.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
No, Sandra, sexual orientation is not "covered under Familial Status."

- 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?"
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
No, in my opinion we are not going too far.
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!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
Sandra - thanks for giving us all a chance to discuss this topic in a very civilized and respectful way!
This is Trulia at its best!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
by defining it you create a prejudice. People are just people! Or so it should be!!!!!
Web Reference: http://www.mdmrealtyinc.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
Debbie, My reason for posing the question in the first place has more to do with putting people in classes in the first place. I know I would be totally unrealistic if I thought everyone would treat each other fairly and it is an idealistic point of view. I just feel that creating classes for anything just leaves the door open for more problems. The more we create separation under the guise of protection, the more opportunity for predjudice we create.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
Debbie, "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!"

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)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
This discussion isn't about steering, it is about classifying people or putting them in boxes. For the record, no I don't steer clients nor would I. It is simply about putting people in "boxes" and classifying them as protected when we are all Americans and thus have the same rights and opportunities as any one else.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
So, Sandra, do you think agents should have the right to "steer" people based on their sexual orientation?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
Mack, not that is not my point at all. I think that we need to stop classifying people at all. We need to stop putting people in "boxes" under the term class. We need to start thinking of each other as Americans and that as Americans we have the equal rights to live as we we want, where we want, and how we want without someone telling us we are a class and thus should be treated differently. I feel that the more we try and regulate the more problems we create. We just need to treat everyone the same way period.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
Debbie, I agree with you. 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. If we are true professionals and we abide by the Laws, Statues, and the Code, this should not be an issue. It is already covered under Familial Status.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
Thank you all for your answers. I personally think this is going too far because it would seem to me that it is already covered under familial status. How or with whom people live is really none of our business. All the rules and regulations in the world are not going to change the views of some people and is not going to make every agent a better agent. It is just one more form of Governmental Control and I think it is just too much and goes too far. 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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
It went to far before that. When a realtor can NOT say this is a good (or bad) school system, that the neighborhood is predominantly (insert race here), that a realtor could get in trouble for saying this is a family street with kids nothing else matters. Reality and reasonableness is long gone.

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?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
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