Fair Housing: Must Read Undercover Investigation of Violations


NAR Ethics Article 10: "Fair Housing"

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)

NAR video on Article 10:


NAR Ethics Case 10-2

If you were on a REALTOR® ethics hearing panel, how would you decide this fair housing (ethics Article 10) case below:

On a Saturday morning, REALTOR® B, a salesperson affiliated with REALTOR® A, answered an e-mail from Prospect C, a recent college graduate who was moving into the city to take his first teaching job at Northwest High School. Prospect C was married, had two young children, and was a veteran.

After working with Prospect C to determine his family could afford a three-bedroom home in the $240,000 range, RealtoR ® B described available properties near Northwest High School and set up appointments to show houses to Prospect C. That afternoon, REALTOR® B showed Prospect C and his wife three houses in neighborhoods near the high school.

On Monday, at a faculty meeting, Prospect C met Prospect D, who was also moving into the city to take a teaching position at the same high school and who was also in the market for a home. Prospect D was married with two young children and was also a veteran.

Prospect C told Prospect D of REALTOR® B’s knowledge of the market and VA financing and how helpful he had been. Prospect D called REALTOR® A’s office that afternoon and asked for REALTOR® B. and asked for REALTOR® B. REALTOR® B met Prospect D and determined Prospect D could also afford a home in the $240,000 range. Prospect D told REALTOR® B that he was also a new teacher at Northwest High School and had been referred by Prospect C. Prospect D was black.

REALTOR® B showed Prospect D houses in several neighborhoods undergoing racial transition but did not show Prospect D homes in neighborhoods near the high school. Prospect D asked about houses closer to Northwest High School. REALTOR® B replied that he had no knowledge of any homes in that area for which Prospect D could qualify. The next day, Prospect D, while visiting Prospect C, related his problems in finding a home near the high school and learned that REALTOR® B had shown Prospect C several homes near the high school. Prospect D filed a complaint with the Association of REALTORS® claiming that REALTOR® B had discriminated against him and his family by not offering equal professional services.

The complaint was reviewed by the Grievance Committee. REALTOR® B was charged with an alleged violation of Article 10, and the complaint was referred to a Hearing Panel of the Association’s Professional Standards Committee for hearing. At the hearing, REALTOR® B admitted that he did not use the same efforts to show Prospect D properties in neighborhoods near the high school as he did with Prospect C because he felt Prospect D and his family would feel more comfortable living in a racially integrated neighborhood.

See below for how this hearing panel ruled…if you think a violation, how much discipline would you impose? Fine of $________ and ____ hours of education.

If you were the respondent (aka defendant) REALTOR® in this complaint would you have considered taking an offered citation (small fine and education) in lieu of a full formal ethics hearing or waiving your right to a full formal hearing and accepting the fine and education imposed by the ethics committee who takes into account your admission of unprofessional behavior (aka take a plea deal)?

SCR is receiving numerous reports of unprofessional behavior. Across the country, unprofessional behavior is the number #1 complaint by REALTORS® about their colleagues in the market.

There are several ways of addressing and trying to correct unprofessional behavior. Lead by example. If you see unprofessional behavior, say something. Discuss with the other REALTOR®. Discuss with the REALTOR®’s Broker-in-Charge (BIC). Consider filing ethics complaints at the appropriate association and filing license law complaints at LLR.

The Hearing Panel found REALTOR® B in violation of Article 10 of the Code of Ethics.

Posted by: Byron King on 12/3/19 (This information is only accurate as of 12/3/19. You must contact SCR for updates and changes to this information after 12/3/19 as laws and regulations may change over time. SCR 803-772-5206 or email info at screaltors.org)