A: Real estate brokers and their agents are subject to a web of federal, state and local fair housing laws that are intended to uncover and eradicate discriminatory conduct in the sale or rental of dwellings. The methods of enforcing these laws are varied, and the penalties that can be extracted for a violation are some of the most severe that law will allow. The practical effect of a finding of liability for most real estate firms is an unbearable financial loss, coupled with loss of reputation, humiliation, and public embarrassment. Noncompliance with fair housing laws is a risk that responsible real estate brokers simply cannot assume as a cost of doing business. Furthermore, fair housing cases may be excluded from errors and omissions insurance policies. Thus, the best risk reduction technique available in the area of fair housing is the adoption of a strict company compliance policy, and the action to insure that salespeople adhere to it.
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The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.