Creating a Fair Housing Training for Real Estate Agents
Now, it is easier than ever to renew real estate licenses online. Across the US, real estate providers are given state board approval to create and deliver online trainings to real estate professionals looking to earn CE credits. Providers can create courses on a variety of subjects, though in my opinion, it makes the most sense to create a course on a subject a state board mandates for real estate license renewal to reach the widest audience of potential learners.
So, what would be a good example of a mandatory course topic? Two words: fair housing. Fair housing certification trainings are mandated by states such as California, New York, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, among others. This is the perfect topic for an online training course that provides CE credits to real estate professionals in these states.
Fair Housing Training Requirements
You might be asking yourself, what do fair housing certification trainings cover? The content of these trainings may vary by state. For example, in Delaware fair housing trainings are meant to cover the following topics:
- Civil Rights Act of 1866
- Fair Housing Act of 1968
- Federal Protected Classes
- Delaware Protected Classes
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Megan’s Law
- Complaint Process
- Case Histories
- No Preference Rules
- Discouraged Wording Exemptions
- Assistance Animals
- HOPA (Housing for Older Persons Act)
(Real Estate Commission, 2012).
In New York, an approved fair housing training course may only have to cover the following:
- The Fair Housing Act
- The 1988 Amendments act and beyond
- Fair housing and property management
- Fair housing enforcement
- Cultural diversity and fair housing
- Fair housing case studies
As you can tell, while there are differences between fair housing training requirements, there are also several overlaps. This shows that a comprehensive fair housing online training course could meet several state requirements at once.
The Importance of Fair Housing Training
Given the current political climate, where rights of minorities are threatened–it has become increasingly important to offer fair housing online trainings that ensure equal rights to housing regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, age, among other factors. To offer trainings on fair housing online puts you in the driver seat for positive change. Create a fair housing online training that informs real estate professionals how to better conduct their affairs to promote the civil rights of all renters and property owners.
Some Key Components to Include in a Fair Housing Online Training
- The Fair Housing Act of 1968
This was signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson four years following the signing of the Civil Rights Act. Not only does the Fair Housing Act protect Americans from discrimination in renting, buying, or securing loans for housing regardless of race, religion, and/ disability–but it also provides many other protections (Scioto, n.d.). Include this in fair housing trainings for landlords, fair housing trainings for property managers, and fair housing trainings for other relevant real estate professionals.
- This law enables physically or mentally disabled individuals to make reasonable modifications to his/her living space or common use areas if necessary.
- This law also protects from discrimination based on based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability (e.g., mobility, visual, hearing, and cognitive disabilities) in the mortgage lending process.
- This law also explains exemptions from the Fair Housing Act such as owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that only admit members.
- New buildings that have an elevator and four or more apartments must have common areas that are accessible to people with disabilities. Doors and hallways of these new buildings must be wide enough for persons on wheelchairs to pass through.
- This law ensures that all advertising of residential real estate for sale or rent should include an equal housing opportunity logotype, statement, or slogan to communicate to those seeking housing that the property is available for purchase for all people.
- Fair Housing Enforcement
In your training, it is vital that you discuss how the fair housing act is enforced not only federally, but also at the state level. For the purposes of this informative article, I will go over the federal enforcement of this act. This act is enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and trainees should be aware of enforcement practices so they exercise proper ethical behavior in all dealings (Eberlin, 2018).
- One way the Fair Housing Act is enforced is through fair housing testers. These fair housing testers are individuals who pretend to be potential renters or purchasers of homes and evaluate salesperson, landlord, and broker behavior to ensure that no discrimination is occuring during the home purchasing process (Eberlin, 2018). These testers typically check up on phone behavior, advertisement practices, and in-person dealings.
- Another way the Department of Housing and Urban Development enforces the Fair Housing Act is by investigating discrimination claims and taking further legal action if they find those claims to have merit (Eberlin, 2018).
- Fair Housing Case Studies
Show examples of fair housing case studies so that trainees understand the types of cases that may be brought against violators of the Fair Housing Act. Include these case studies in fair housing training videos, which are easy to incorporate in online trainings and help boost learning outcomes. These violations can range from attorney fees, and other discrimination based on handicap, color, national origin, race, sex, and familial status (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, n.d.). Below you will find one example of a case study.
- Corporation for Independent Living (Charging Party) and Corporation for Independent Living (Complainant-Intervenor) vs. Duane George and Northwest Realty Group
- Duane George and Northwest Realty Group were charged with discrimination against the Corporation for Independent Living for not selling real estate to this corporation which intended to use the property for housing mentally retarded individuals.
- Decision: Guilty. Fined $4,350 to pay in damages to the Corporation for Independent Living, and fined a civil penalty of $7,500 to pay to the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- Further information about this case and the decision can be found by clicking here.
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Eberlin, E. (2018, January 29). The basics of the federal fair housing act. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/what-is-the-federal-fair-housing-act-2125014
Real Estate Commission. (2012). Real estate continuing education: module course contents. Retrieved from https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/realestate/cerequirements/
Scioto. (n.d.) 10 things you should know about the fair housing act. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.scioto.com/10-things-know-fair-housing-act/
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (n.d.). Fair housing act cases. Retrieved from https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/hearings_appeals/cases/fha