National Association of Realtors cracks down on hate speech

“Uncomfortable discussions” within group about discrimination during homebuying

(Getty, iStock)
(Getty, iStock)

It’s no secret that the path to homeownership can involve discrimination towards prospective buyers. After a marked rise in racist and homophobic slurs and threats by its members on their personal social media accounts, the National Association of Realtors is taking a stand against hate speech in the industry.

The group’s board of directors will vote Friday to amend its code of ethics. The aim is to broaden the scope of the code to include not only discriminatory acts directly relating to brokerage, but also to the content that agents post online on their own time.

Matt Difanas, head of the NAR standards committee, cited the industry’s history of racial discrimination and said Realtors have played a role in perpetuating redlining despite it being outlawed decades ago.

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In addition to revising the code of ethics, individual Realtors have been taking measures to hold the industry to a higher standard. Lisa Dunn from Rancho Santa Margarida created a Facebook group called “Deliberately Fair Housing” to educate real estate agents on how they can avoid contributing to discrimination.

Vince Malta, president of NAR, asserted that a targeted effort to reverse discrimination is the only way to undo the industry’s “decades of inequality.” To those who insist that NAR should stay in its lane and not be involved with these issues, Malta said, “This is our lane. This is the time for Realtors to step up and lead.”

[Los Angeles Daily News] — Raji Pandya