The news on Inman last week struck me – are those Realtors who choose not to list themselves as “gay-friendly” therefore not? Personally, I treat all clients the same. No matter of their religion, gender, race or any other factor. If someone needs to buy or sell a home I look at the factors that would affect their ability to do so. I certainly would not consider their sexual orientation or any other peripherals. I mentioned this the other day, but have not been able to stop thinking about it.
Virginia’s Code says, among other things:
1. To refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, or familial status;
2. To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in the connection therewith to any person because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, or familial status;
The certification training for LGBTRES candidates includes a half-day live lecture course or an online track, which the candidate must pass to receive their certification. The training, designed to help agents and brokers gain sensitivity to and understanding of the LGBT market, will be offered to Realogy’s affiliated sales associates and brokers at a substantially discounted rate of $75. The NGLCC will begin delivery of the training in the fourth quarter of 2006, and, in 2007, will certify LGBTRES trainers in Realogy’s major markets to make the certification available to a wider audience.
As to someone’s sexual orientation, skin color, sex, age – I don’t care one way or the other. So long as they are qualified by a reputable lender, are looking within their comfortable price range and are ready, willing and able to purchase a home now or in the (sometimes not so near) future, that’s all I need. Fair Housing laws dictate that everyone must be treated the same (although sexual orientation is not yet a protected class).
I don’t steer people to or from specific ethnic neighborhoods, nor would I feel comfortable telling a client that a neighborhood is or is not “gay friendly.” Do we now need arbitrary certifications from various groups saying that Realtors are qualified to work with each individual protected (and not-yet-protected) classes? We have Senior Specialists, the NAR has a Diversity Section of their website.
Do I need to be listed as a “gay-friendly” Realtor? I don’t think so. I market my services to qualified buyers (and sellers), and I don’t care if they are tall, short, grey or purple, skinny or fat. If they want to buy or sell a house, that’ll do.
There are several groups that are not protected under either the state or federal fair housing law. For example students and smokers are not protected. Income status, sexual orientation, marital status, that is unmarried couples and age are also not protected groups. However these classes may be protected under a local ordinance. Therefore before drafting a fair housing policy a housing provider should determine if local ordinances protect certain classes that are not protected by the state or federal law.
Thank goodness students aren’t a protected class! 🙂
Everyone is a protected class.
While this post was sitting waiting to be published, True Gotham voices his thoughts, with which I agree 100%.
I can’t believe that in this day and age there is a necessity for a specialization in assisting the GLBT community with their housing needs. (Don’t make me start counting up the hundreds of GLBT clients I have served through the years.) It actually seems like a bizarre kind of discrimination to me, like these are “special” people who need uncommon kinds of help.