Our common responsibility for integrity and fairness
As the nation’s largest professional trade association, the National Association of REALTORS® has a unique ability to shape the housing industry. It also has the obligation and stated mission to make certain that all who seek homeownership have the opportunity to achieve it. One REALTOR® document, the Code of Ethics, makes our goals clear. But a second document, the Fair Housing Declaration, is a pledge every member should use to affirm our mission.
The Code of Ethics preamble, “Under all is the land”, is a visionary statement which speaks to the benefits realized from a free and fair housing marketplace. “REALTORS® recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership.”
It goes on to state our obligations to clients and the public in upholding the law, and our pledge to each other through enforcement of our Code of Ethics. “REALTORS®, therefore, are zealous to maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their fellow REALTORS® a common responsibility for its integrity and honor… and take steps, through enforcement of this Code of Ethics and by assisting appropriate regulatory bodies, to eliminate practices which may damage the public or which might discredit or bring dishonor to the real estate profession.”
There is no clearer statement of the REALTOR® obligation to uphold the law than Article 10 of the Code of Ethics, which in essence is a restatement of the Fair Housing Act.
REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
The REALTOR® Fair Housing Declaration blends the best aspirational goals of the Preamble with the duty we pledge through the Code of Ethics, Article 10, to uphold the Fair Housing laws of our nation both in letter and spirit.
The Declaration is reprinted as a reminder and we encourage you to use it in presentations to all of your clients.
Fair Housing Declaration
I agree to:
Provide equal professional service without regard to the race, color, religion, gender (sex), disability (handicap), familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity of any prospective client, customer, or of the residents of any community.
Keep informed about fair housing law and practices, improving my clients’ and customers’ opportunities and my business.
Develop advertising that indicates that everyone is welcome, and no one is excluded; expanding my client’s and customer’s opportunities to see, buy, or lease property.
Inform my clients and customers about their rights and responsibilities under the fair housing laws by providing brochures and other information.
Document my efforts to provide professional service, which will assist me in becoming a more responsive and successful REALTOR®.
Refuse to tolerate non-compliance.
Learn about those who are different from me and celebrate those differences.
Take a positive approach to fair housing practices and aspire to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law.
Develop and implement fair housing practices for my firm to carry out the spirit of this declaration.
“Opening Doors to Housing” is a campaign by Seattle King County REALTORS® to make housing and opportunity tools available to our members as they serve the diverse communities in our area. For the next few weeks, our series on “Opening Doors to Housing” will be sharing resources, articles, best practices, talking points, and stories on advancing housing opportunities and promoting inclusiveness.
As a charter member of the National Association of REALTORS®, Seattle King County REALTORS® is proud to stand with our national organization as it launches a broader effort to promote awareness and progress on fair housing and equal opportunity for all.