Almost all REALTORS® have websites. There are some sight-impaired complainants represented by law firms who assert that certain websites that are non-compliant with sight-impaired access technology (e.g., WCAG 2.0) are violating ADA laws and Fair Housing laws.
Recommend that your technology staff audits your website for sight-impaired access (e.g., compliance with WCAG 2.0).
Please alert SCR if you receive a lawyer demand letter related to your website.
NAR put out a bulletin on this issue below. The court case that NAR cites is not controlling in South Carolina. NAR included a template response letter to these types of law firm demand letters sent to REALTORS®.
Merely stating on your website "Please call me and I will assist sight-impaired consumers" – this typically has not been a complete defense in past reported cases.
Compliance with WCAG 2.0 is effective.
NAR has recently received reports concerning a new wave of demand letters related to website accessibility claims. These letters, sent on behalf of an entity called Pursuit of Respect, assert not only ADA violations, but also allege Fair Housing Act violations and WCAG violations. While the ADA’s application to websites remains unsettled, NAR has done extensive research and found no legal basis for the assertion that the FHA imputes any general or specific obligation on real estate professionals to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities.
In addition to alerting you to these letters, I am sharing the attached template letter that NAR has prepared to help members respond to these demand letters. I am also sharing our recent post about the 11th Circuit decision in Gil v. Winn Dixie. As you will recall, in that decision the 11th Circuit held that websites are not places of public accommodation under Title III of the ADA, and thus not subject to the ADA’s accessibility requirements.
If you have any questions or if we can be helpful on this issue or anything else, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
11th Circuit holds websites are not places of public accommodation under Title III of the ADA