by Byron King
REALTORS® must always operate in compliance with Fair Housing Laws and the NAR Code of Ethics on Fair Housing and ADA and other laws/ethics.
There are consumers who are visually impaired and REALTORS® must not deny equal professional services on the basis of visual impairment disability/handicap and must comply with ADA.
Visual impairment includes full and partial blindness.
Since your visuals/photographs/video/words on your website, email, text, and online presence is often one of your primary means of providing your real estate services to consumers, please read below for some considerations to help make your website Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant and fend off ADA lawsuits.
Your office must be ADA compliant and some lawyers argue your website must be ADA compliant as well.
The Code is good business.
Just like trial lawyers who sue businesses for ADA physical compliance violations at the businesses’ offices, NAR reports that the number of trial lawyers suing businesses for violating ADA on their business websites has increased 177% in 2018 and 131% in 2019.
So making your website and online communications accessible to people with visual impairment disabilities/handicaps is good risk management.
Since many consumers have some amount of visual impairment, making your website and online communications easy to see and read and use should help your business succeed.
NAR reports a current lack of clear compliance guidance from the courts and governments on how to accomplish ADA website compliance, but NAR does provide some best practices.
First, NAR invites REALTORS® to copy the NAR ADA website accessibility POLICY and NOTICE at this link:
Second, NAR posted a legal video on ADA website accessibility last fall.
Third, ask your technology counsel and ADA compliance counsel to review your website for improvements on ADA visual impairment upgrades and compliance using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
These experts can also help you improve your website compliance if you operate interstate or internationally.
NAR/LLR requires your license name, company name, and state of licensure on your website.
Duties to the Public
Article 10 (Case Interpretations for Article 10)
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. (Amended 1/14)
REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14) [listen]
Posted by: Byron King on 07/06/20 (This information is only accurate as of 07/06/20. You must contact SCR for updates and changes to this information after 07/06/20 as laws and regulations may change over time. SCR 803-772-5206 or email Byron)