Good fair housing practices are essential for a compliant and professional real estate business. REALTORS®, as the first point of contact for many home buyers and sellers can make a huge difference in someone’s homeownership journey. With underserved communities facing additional homeownership challenges and racial homeownership gaps that remain stubbornly large; REALTORS® as stewards of homeownership, can make a huge difference.
Learn more about C.A.R.’s fair housing and anti-discrimination efforts here.
REALTOR® Education and Training
To properly address fair housing issues, we must first understand them. Much of this history is not taught in schools, nor is it fully explained in most existing REALTOR® licensing and continuing education courses. We are learning more about how unconscious bias impacts the real estate industry, including in REALTOR® behavior, and issues with lending and appraisals; and how the legacy of past and current discrimination compounds, leaving underrepresented communities struggling to compete in California’s tough housing markets. That’s why it’s imperative that we learn more about past and current fair housing challenges to ensure that our REALTOR® community is taking an active role in addressing these issues and ending the terrible legacy
C.A.R. is supporting and co-sponsoring legislation that will advance homeownership and provide affordable housing for underrepresented communities, such as veterans, disabled individuals, seniors, communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community. Some of these efforts include sponsoring legislation to require that all real estate licensees take implicit bias training and to make the current fair housing training more robust and relevant. C.A.R. is co-sponsoring legislation to mask or redact illegal restrictive covenants in real property records. We are also co-sponsoring legislation to repeal Article 34 in its entirety.
Member Task Force
C.A.R. leadership has established a Fair Housing and Diversity Task Force of members that is evaluating educational, diversity and leadership development initiatives, fair housing law enforcement policy, and C.A.R. governance structure to support the Association’s strong commitment to fair housing and diversity within California’s housing market and real estate industry. To date, C.A.R. leadership has adopted the Task Force recommendations to create two new Committees of the Board of Directors for fair housing and diversity and a member-led forum to help raise member awareness about fair housing policy and diversity in real estate businesses and industry leadership. The Task Force continues to meet and consider recommendations for C.A.R. leadership.
C.A.R. supports the REALTOR® community with advisories and forms that can be used when working with clients. Last year, we rolled out the Fair Housing and Discrimination Advisory form (FHDA) — a great tool to help REALTORS® and their clients better understand fair housing law and best practices. Members can also use C.A.R.’s Transaction Rescue service if they have a fair housing question or believe a client has been
Due to past redlining and other exclusionary and discriminatory practices, communities of color have not had equal access to the wealth-building benefits of homeownership. Therefore, buyers who have lower down payments and less access to intergenerational wealth can benefit from down payment assistance programs. C.A.R. supports home buyer assistance programs and has increased fundraising for its Housing Affordability Fund, which funds low- to middle-income homebuyer assistance programs. Additionally, we educate REALTORS® working with first-time buyers about down payment and homebuyer assistance programs.