SHORT INTRODUCTION TO CALIFORNIA REAL ESTATE PRINCIPLES,
Educational Objectives: Learn about FEDERAL FAIR HOUSING LAWS, Civil Rights Act of 1866, Civil Rights Act of 1968 Title VIII-Fair Housing: 42 USC 3604, Supreme Court Decision: Jones v. Mayer, Blockbusting, Redlining, Fair Housing Amendments of 1988, AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, CALIFORNIA NONDISCRIMINATION LAWS, Age Discrimination, Senior Citizen Housing, VOLUNTARY AFFIRMATIVE MARKETING AGREEMENT (VAMA), THE NATIONAL REALTORS® AGREEMENT, AIDS DISCRIMINATION, DISCRIMINATION AGAINST BLIND PERSONS, R. E. TERMS GLOSSARY, INDEX.
The goal of federal fair housing legislation is to create a single, unbiased housing market: a market where all individuals have the opportunity to buy any home they choose assuming, of course, they have the financial means to do so. Because most of the housing produced in this country is sold or leased through the private real estate market, everyone in the real estate profession is responsible for assuring that an unbiased housing market is a reality, not just an ideal.
Students and licensees must be aware of the unethical and illegal housing practices in order to avoid them. Failure to comply with federal, state, and local fair housing laws is grounds for license revocation and criminal prosecution. The broker or sales person should always keep this in mind: Fair housing is the right of every American; fair housing is the responsibility of every real estate professional.
The first legislation passed by the federal government to promote equal housing opportunities on the part of all U. S. citizens was the Civil Rights Act of 1866. This Act prohibited discrimination on the basis of race and held that "All citizens of the United States shall have the same right in every state and territory as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property. " This remained the primary piece of federal legislation governing fair housing for almost 96 years until President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order No. 11063 in 1962.
Executive Order No. 11063 (Order) prohibits discrimination in all housing sold, leased, or constructed with federally insured (FHA) or guaranteed (VA) loans. Specifically, the Order states that all departments and agencies in the executive branch of the federal government are directed to take all necessary action to prevent discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, to the extent their functions relate to the provision, rehabilitation, or operation of housing and related facilities
(a) in the sale, leasing, rental, or other disposition of residential property and related facilities (including land to be developed for residential use), or in the use or occupancy thereof, if such property and related facilities are:
1) owned or operated by the federal government; or
2) provided in whole or in part with the aid of loans, advances, grants, or contributions made by the federal government; or
3) provided in whole or in part by loans insured, guaranteed, or otherwise secured by the credit of the federal government; or
4) provided by the development or the re-development of real property purchased, leased, or otherwise obtained from a state or local public agency receiving federal financial assistance for slum clearance or urban renewal with respect to such real property under a loan or grant made hereafter;
(b) in the lending practices with respect to residential property and related facilities of lending institutions, to the extent such loans are insured or guaranteed by the federal government.
While Executive Order No. 11063 applied to housing financed in whole or in part by FHA or VA loans, or that received whole or partial federal funding, it had relatively little impact on the housing market as a whole. The majority of housing was financed by the private sector and was not affected by the Order.
Recognizing the need for a stronger fair housing law, Congress in 1968 passed the Federal Fair Housing Act. Also in 1968 the Supreme Court's decision in Jones v. Mayer affected fair housing laws as well.
The Federal Fair Housing Act (Act), contained in Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibits discrimination not only on the basis of race and color, but also on the basis of religion, sex, or national origin when selling or leasing residential property. This law covers residential dwellings and apartments, as well as vacant land acquired for the purpose of constructing residential dwellings. Title VIII expressly prohibits the following:
1. Refusing to sell or rent after receiving a bona fide offer, or refusing to negotiate or otherwise making a dwelling unavailable to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
2. Changing the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling for different individuals because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
3. Advertising or making other statements in such a way as to make it clear the sale or rental of a dwelling indicates a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
4. Representing to any person that a dwelling is not for sale or rental based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
5. Securing a profit by inducing owners of property to sell or rent by making statements regarding the entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons of a particular race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
6. Denying a loan or other financial assistance to an applicant for the purpose of buying, constructing, improving, repairing, or maintaining a dwelling or discriminating against any applicant in determining the loan amount, interest rate, duration, or other terms or conditions based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
7. Denying membership or participation in any multiple listing service, real estate broker' s organization, or other service, organization, or facility relating to the business of selling or renting dwellings on account of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
While Title VIII is very broad in its coverage, it does provide for certain exemptions for sellers or landlords of three or fewer housing units who do not use a broker or agents and who use no discriminatory advertising. In addition the exemption includes the rental of rooms in one-to-four unit structures provided one unit is occupied by the owner.
The second major event in fair housing law occurring in 1968 was the Supreme Court decision in the case of Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Company, 392 U. S. 409 (1968). Mr. Jones, who was black, brought suit against the Mayer Company, a developer in St. Louis, Missouri, alleging that the Mayer Company refused to sell Mr. Jones a home because he was black. Mr. Jones' attorney based his case on the Civil Rights Act of 1866. In its ruling, the Court upheld the Civil Rights Act of 1866 which, the Court states, "prohibits all racial discrimination, private or public, in the sale and rental of property. " The importance of this ruling is that while the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 provided for the exemptions noted above, the 1866 law prohibits all racial discrimination without exception, thereby, as a practical matter, making the exemptions allowed in the 1968 Act ineffective. It does not matter whether the owner of property employed a broker or salesperson, advertised the property, or owns one or 100 units, he/she is prohibited from practicing racial discrimination against anyone.
Amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1968
A 1972 amendment to Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 requires the poster illustrated on page 334 to be displayed in the office of all persons engaging in:
1) the sale or rental of dwellings or the sale of residential lots;
2) advertising of the sale or rental of housing;
3) the financing of housing; or
4) the provision or real estate brokerage services.
Failure to display the poster may be considered evidence of discrimination against a broker or other person engaged in one or more of the activities noted above. The poster is required to be displayed in model homes of subdivisions as well. The equal housing opportunity logo is shown in Appendix IV, Figure 2.
Also in 1972, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) adopted rules that require anyone who participates in FHA development or rehabilitation programs tot among other things, adopt and implement a marketing program designed to attract a representative cross section of the community. This means a builder participating in an FHA financing program must make an effort to attract persons without regard to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
The practices listed below were frequently engaged in by brokers and salespersons in the past even though they were expressly prohibited in the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Licensees found guilty of these practices risk possible suspension or revocation of their licenses and criminal prosecution for civil rights violations.
Steering: Also known as channeling, steering is the practice of directing black or white persons into neighborhoods where their own race predominates. Unscrupulous licensees also have been known to steer persons of one race into neighborhoods consisting of persons of another race in order to create a speculative situation. Steering or channeling occurs whenever a licensee's conduct influences a prospective home buyer's choice of location on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Examples of practices that would constitute illegal steering include:
1) discouraging blacks from buying in certain areas by using a sales-pitch different from that used with white customers;
2) failing to advise black customers of listings where the owner does not wish to rent or sell to blacks; or
3) assuming that black or white prospective home buyers will want to live, or should live, in a neighborhood where their race predominates, and selecting listings accordingly.
The term blockbusting refers to the practice of inducing or attempting to induce a person to sell or rent a dwelling by representing that persons of a particular race, color, religion, or national origin are or will be moving into the neighborhood. To be guilty of blockbusting, the accused must have been motivated by profit. The courts have ruled blockbusting has occurred whenever a racial representation--or anything that could reasonably be regarded as a racial representation--is made for the purpose of obtaining any financial gain. For example, the broker who frightens white homeowners into selling by making representations about the minorities moving into the neighborhood is guilty of blockbusting. The blockbuster then buys the homes at low prices and sells them at higher prices to minorities moving in.
A broker or salesperson cannot avoid violating the law that prohibits blockbusting simply by refraining from explicit references to race or ethnic origin. In fact, the law prohibits any acts or words that could reasonably be interpreted as conveying the idea that members of a particular race or ethnic group are or may be entering the neighborhood. For example, statements by a licensee about the "changing neighborhood," "falling property values," "bad schools," or "undesirable elements" may be regarded by the courts as a substitute for saying that minority persons are moving into a particular neighborhood.
While not expressly prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1968, redlining is often based on racial considerations. Redlining is the refusal of a financial institution to make mortgage loans in certain areas without regard to the financial qualifications of the applicant. One obvious result of redlining is that the non-availability of mortgage loans in certain areas can lead to the deterioration of a neighborhood. In the past, the areas "redlined" by mortgage lenders have been in declining central city cores with high concentrations of minorities. To address the problem associated with redlining, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975 was enacted. This Act requires lenders to maintain records describing the geographic location of their mortgage lending activity and to make these records available for public examination. The Act is administered and regulated by the Federal Reserve System through Regulation C.
While licensees cannot be held responsible for redlining, they should be very cautious in dealing with institutions engaged directly or indirectly in this practice.
Therefore, the Fair Housing Act not only prohibits discrimination that is clear, obvious, and intentional, but also makes illegal subtle forms of discrimination as well as conduct that results in discrimination, regardless of motivation. A discriminatory effect occurs when an act or practice by a broker or agent results in a substantially disproportionate number of persons of a particular race, color, religion, or national origin being excluded from or placed at a disadvantage in relation to housing opportunities. For example, a broker employed exclusively to market homes in a subdivision would be guilty of discrimination if he/she failed to advertise the homes in the public media, but, instead, notified selected individuals of the opportunity through the mail. If the individuals notified by mail did not represent a reasonable cross-section of the community, the broker could be charged with discriminatory marketing practices.
Brokers also should be aware that they may be liable for any discriminatory acts committed by their agents and salespersons. This is true even for the broker who has not personally violated the law and who was not aware of his/her agent's violations. The duty to comply with the law cannot be delegated away; and even as a "silent partner," a broker is in violation of the law when his/her employees discriminate.
The Fair Housing Amendments of 1988 make it illegal for a broker or salesperson engaged in a business involving residential real estate transactions to discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap or family status. The Amendments of 1988 expanded the Civil Rights Act of 1968 to prohibit discrimination against anyone based on handicap or family status.
The new category of handicapped applies to the construction of multi-family dwellings regarding access and usability for physically handicapped persons. Beginning 30 months after September 13, 1988, covered multi-family dwellings shall be designed and constructed so that:
1. The public and common use portions of the dwelling are readily accessible to and usable by all handicapped persons.
2. All doors allow passage into and within all premises within the dwelling and are wide enough to allow passage by handicapped persons in wheelchairs.
3. All premises within the dwelling contain:
a) an accessible route into and through the dwelling;
b) light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible locations;
c) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars;
d) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.
In addition, the Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to:
1. refuse to sell or rent a dwelling because the person or someone associated with the person is physically handicapped;
2. discriminate in the sale or rental of property based on handicap;
3. refuse to permit reasonable modification to the premises at the expense of the handicapped individual for purposes of access to the dwelling;
4. refuse to make reasonable provisions in the rules, policies, or services to allow handicapped persons equal use and enjoyment of the dwelling as non-handicapped persons.
Further, the Amendments of 1988 require that all housing now be open to families with children, regardless of age. One exception to this law pertains to housing for the elderly.
Remedies Available Against Discrimination
Licensees who violate any of the provisions of the 1968 act are subject to a series of federal, state, and private remedial actions. A person who claims to have been injured by a violation of the act is authorized to file a complaint with HUD or bring a civil action in the appropriate federal district court. HUD is employed to respond to meritorious complaints by seeking to achieve a voluntary settlement between the complainant and the alleged violator. Such settlements may include payment of compensation to the complainant and affirmative steps to be undertaken by the alleged wrongdoer, such as advertising listings in minority-owned media, to correct the effects of past conduct. Private individuals who successfully bring their own suits under the 1968 act are entitled to an award by the court for actual damages, including compensation for insult and humiliation and punitive damages up to $1,000, together with the costs of bringing the suit, including in most cases, reasonable attorney's fees. Judges and juries have made very substantial awards, both for damages and attorney's fees.
The act further empowers the Attorney General of the United States to bring suits where an alleged denial of rights to a group of persons raises an issue of general public importance. In cases successfully brought by the Attorney General, the courts have granted very broad relief including:
1) permanent injunctions forbidding any future violations of the act;
2) damages for any victims of the defendant's unlawful conduct, and affirmative programs under which defendants must take such steps as attracting minority customers, ensuring that they are shown properties in all locations where the defendant does business, displaying equal housing posters in their places of business, and including an equal housing message in all advertising, and reporting to the Attorney General on a regular basis as to steps taken to accomplish the affirmative program.
Certain acts are not covered by the Federal Fair Housing Law.
1. Single family units owned by a private individual owner of three or fewer units if:
a. a broker is not used,
b. discriminatory advertising is not used, and
c. no more than one house in which the owner was not the most recent resident is sold during any two-year period.
2. Rental of units or rooms in an owner-occupied multi-family structure of two to four families and discriminatory advertising is not used.
3. Limiting the sale, rental or occupancy of dwelling which a religious organization owns or operates for other than commercial purposes to persons of the same religion, if membership in that religion is not restricted on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
4. Limiting to its own members the rental or occupancy of lodgings that a private club owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose.
The above acts are covered, however, under the Civil Rights Act of 1866 by the interpretation of the United State Supreme Court as indicated in the landmark case of Jones Vs. Mayer. The distinction between the Federal Fair Housing Law exempting certain owners or groups and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 is that the 1866 law prohibits all racial discrimination without exception or exemption.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. The ADA Handbook, published by the -- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U. S. Department of Justice, summarizes the intent of the law as, "A federal anti-discrimination statute designed to remove barriers which prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same employment opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities. "It is the intent of the ADA to provide equal opportunity access to jobs based upon the merits of the individual not only in the private sector but also in the public sector. The ADA also addresses accessibility to disabled individuals in public accommodations and in commercial facilities.
The ADA is divided into three sections: Title I, Title II, and Title III.
Title I establishes equal opportunity for qualified individuals with disabilities in the job market. The law states that, "An individual who is qualified for employment opportunity cannot be denied that opportunity because of the fact that an individual is disabled. The purpose of Title I is to ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination on the basis of disability. "
Title II further expands the role of the ADA to include nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in state and local governmental services. This rule is further broken down into seven sub-parts which deal with: 1) the "General" purpose of the law, 2) "General Requirements" of the law, 3) employment by public entities, 4) accessibility in existing facilities, 5) requirements dealing with communication, 6) administrative procedures, and 7) investigating complaints and violations, and the assignment of enforcement responsibilities. Title II is designed to apply to all services, programs, and activities provided at the state and local level regardless of the receipt of Federal financial assistance. Title II does not relate to private business entities.
Title III provides for nondiscrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations and in commercial facilities. This section of the law addresses discrimination on the basis of disability in the private sector in businesses providing public accommodation and commercial facilities being designed, constructed, or remodeled and requires that examinations and courses related to licensing and certification for professional or trade purposes be accessible to disabled individuals. This portion of the law also provides for financial rewards in the form of tax incentives for expenses incurred by those businesses that remove architectural and transportation barriers. Title III is divided into six sub-parts which deal with: 1) "General" purpose of the law, 2) "General Requirements" of the law, 3) "Specific Requirements" of the law, 4) "New Construction and Alterations", 5) "Enforcement" of the law, and 6) "Certification of State Laws or Local Building Codes".
The ADA is an extensively detailed and lengthy law. Persons interested in specific criteria and details are advised to look for further explanation in the ADA Handbook, published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U. S. Department of Justice.
(The following is printed by permission from the CalBRE Reference Book, p. 566-570)
The Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civil Code Section 51, et seq. ) declares: "All persons within the jurisdiction of this State are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities privileges, or services in an business establishments of every kind whatsoever . . . "
The validity of the act has been tested and applies to real estate activities. Thus, real estate brokers who unlawfully deny full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges and services of their business establishment on grounds of race or color are in violation of the act.
Its intent is to give all persons full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.
Civil Code Section 52 further states, "Whoever denies, or who aids, or incites such denial, or whoever makes any discrimination, distinction or restriction on account of sex, color, race, religion, ancestry, or national origin . . . is liable for each and every such offense for the actual damages, and two hundred fifty dollars ($250) in addition thereto, suffered by any person denied the rights provided in . . . this code. "
The Unruh Civil Rights Act has been held to apply to age discrimination in apartment rental and condominium properties because they are considered to be businesses subject to this act.
In 1984 the Legislature enacted Civil Code Section 51. 2 to clarify the holdings in the California Supreme Court cases dealing with the scope of the applicability of the Unruh Civil Rights Act. In the same bill it enacted Civil Code Section 51. 3 to establish and preserve specially designed accessible housing for senior citizens.
Section 51. 2 says that: "Section 51 shall be construed to prohibit a business establishment from discriminating in the sale or rental of housing based upon age. Where accommodations are designed to meet the physical and social needs of senior citizens, a business establishment may establish and preserve such housing for senior citizens, pursuant to Section 51. 3 of the Civil Code. "
Section 51. 3 defines the senior citizen accommodations referred to in Section 51. 2 as/for:
1. Senior citizens are persons 62 years or older or one 55 years or older in a senior citizen housing development.
2. The definition of a senior citizen housing development varies, depending on its location. If it is in a standard metropolitan statistical area (SMSA), it must consist of 150 or more units. If it is not in a SMSA, then it must consist of 35 or more units. In either case, the project must be developed for or substantially renovated for senior citizens. The law does not apply to mobilehome developments.
The law contains several conditions required for senior citizen housing developments. The restrictions cannot limit occupancy more strictly than to limit it to senior citizen residents and a younger spouse or cohabitant or, as an alternative to a spouse, any person who provides primary physical or financial support to the senior citizen. In either case the lower age limit is 45 years.
The restrictions must allow for temporary residency of any person for not less than 60 days per calendar year, and if the senior citizen dies, is absent for a prolonged period, or there is a dissolution of marriage, the remaining permanent resident is entitled to continue in residence.
The project must have been developed for and initially put to use as senior citizen housing or substantially renovated and immediately put to use as senior citizen housing.
The existing age restrictions or policies will be enforceable until December, 1986, after which they will be enforceable only to the extent authorized by Section 51. 3. Any person who has a right to reside in housing subject to this section on January 1, 1985 is allowed to continue in residence. (In 1991 the law has been changed to the extent that courts will entertain from case to case opening certain age restricted properties to families with children. )
The Fair Employment and Housing Act (Government Code Section 12900 et seq. ) has many ramifications applying, as it does, to owners of specified types of property, to real estate brokers and salespersons, to other agents and to financial institutions. Sections 12955 and 12980-12988 specifically cover housing discrimination.
The law prohibits discrimination in supplying housing accommodations because of race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin or ancestry. (Housing accommodations as used in the law means improved or unimproved real property used or intended to be used as a residence by the owner and which consists of not more than four dwelling units. The definition also includes four or fewer owner occupied housing units that secure a home improvement loan. ) It forbids such discrimination in the sale, rental, lease or financing of practically all types of housing, and establishes methods of investigating, preventing and remedying violations. Effective January 1, 1985, Sections 51. 2 and 51. 3 were added to the Civil Code to establish the "age criterion" for a senior citizen retirement community exception to the basic prohibition against arbitrary age discrimination in housing.
Housing discrimination complaints directed to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing are investigated by its staff. If the Department decides that the law has been violated, and if the person accused of violating the law cannot be persuaded to correct the violation, the department may file an accusation or bring an action in the Superior Court for an injunction. If the Commission of Fair Employment and Housing, after hearing, finds a violation of the law, it may order the sale or rental of the accommodation or like accommodations, if available. It may order financial assistance terms, conditions or privileges previously denied. In addition, it may order payment of punitive damages not to exceed $1000 adjusted annually in accordance with the consumer price index and the payment of actual damages. The department is required to do a compliance review to determine whether its order is being carried out.
As stated above, Sections 12900 et seq. of the Government Code expand the application of the Rumford Act in the prohibition of discrimination in housing in making it apply to all housing accommodations, including single-family houses, except it will not apply to renting or leasing to a roomer or boarder in a single- family house provided that no more than one roomer or boarder is to live within the household.
The term "discrimination" includes refusal to sell, rent, or lease housing accommodations, including misrepresentation as to availability inferior terms, cancellations, etc. For sale or rent advertisements containing discriminatory information are prohibited.
State laws and the Real Estate Commissioner's Regulations concerning discrimination include:
1. The Housing Financial Discrimination Act of 1977 also known as the Holden Act (Part 6 of Division 24 of Health and Safety Code Section 35800 et seq. ), which prohibits financial institutions (banks, savings and loan associations, or other financial institutions, including mortgage loan brokers, mortgage bankers and public agencies) which regularly make, arrange, or purchase loans for the purchase, construction, rehabilitation, improvement, or refinancing of housing accommodations (real property used as an owner-occupied residence of not more than four dwelling units) from engaging in discriminatory loan practices.
No financial institution shall discriminate in their financial assistance wholly or partly on the basis of consideration of race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, or ancestry. Nor will it consider the racial, ethnic, religious, or national origin composition of trends in a neighborhood or geographic areas surrounding a housing accommodation. The foregoing is qualified by permitting lender a demonstration that such consideration in the particular case is required to avoid an unsound business practice.
The Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency has issued rules, regulations and guidelines for enforcement of the act and is empowered to investigate lending patterns and practices, and to attempt to conciliate complaints. Investigation of complaints has been delegated to the state agency which regulates the particular financial institution involved. If a violation of the Act is found to have occurred, the Secretary can order that the loan be made on nondiscriminatory terms or impose a fine of up to $1,000.
The secretary shall annually report to the Legislature on the activities of the appropriate regulatory agencies and departments in complying with this part. The report shall include a description of any actions taken by the secretary or the secretary's designee to remedy patterns or practices the secretary determines are in violation of the Act.
Financial institutions are required to notify loan applicants of the existence of the act.
2. Expanded Business and Professions Code Section 125. 6 contains disciplinary provisions for discriminatory acts by any person licensed under the provisions of the Business and Professions Code.
3. Article 10, Commissioner's Rules and Regulations 2780, 2781, and 2782, sets forth in detail the discriminatory conduct which, if practiced by real estate licensees, will be the basis for disciplinary action:
Commissioner's Regulation 2780: Discriminatory conduct by real estate licensees basis for disciplinary action.
Commissioner's Regulation 2782 provides:
2782. Duty to Supervise. A broker licensee shall take reasonable steps to become aware of and to be familiar with and to familiarize his or her salespersons with the requirements of federal and state laws and regulations relating to the prohibition of discrimination in the sale, rental or financing of the purchase of real property. Such laws and regulations include but are not limited to the current provisions and any amendments thereto of:
(a) Sections 12900 through 12996 of the Government Code (expanding the Rumford Act).
(b) Sections 51 and 52 of the California Civil Code (Unruh Civil Rights Act).
(c) Title VIII and IX of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing).
(d) Sections 35800 through 35833 of the California Health and Safety Code (The Housing Financial Discrimination Act of 1977).
(e) Sections 54 through 55. 1 of the Civil Code (Blind and Other Physically Disabled Persons).
4. There are other protections against discrimination written into the law and regulations, including:
(1) Business and Professions Code Section 10177(1), which was added to the Code in 1964 to include the practice of "block busting" as a cause for discipline of a real estate licensee.
(2) Commissioner's Regulation Section 2792. 25 adopted in 1976 to prevent use of the ''right of first refusal" as a means of discrimination against prospective buyers of common interest subdivision interests.
The sum of the matter is that every prohibition of the Unruh and Rumford Acts remains in effect, and what discrimination they did not prohibit federal law now does. There are now no exceptions.
(End of the CalBRE Reference Book excerpt)
Implications for Licensees
Licensees should also realize that implementation and monitoring of federal fair housing laws fall largely on the shoulders of the real estate practitioner. The law is very simple in this regard: all real estate licensees must comply with fair housing laws. The laws are explicit and widely known, not just to persons engaged in real estate brokerage, but to others as well. Anyone found guilty of violating any of the laws discussed here, either intentionally or unintentionally, will suffer the legal consequences. Be very clear on this point: Parties who believe they have been discriminated against do not have to prove knowledge or specific intent on the part of the licensee, only that discrimination has occurred.
Note: An agent is obliged to disclose to a principal all material facts that might influence the principal's decision concerning any real estate transaction. A California Attorney General's Opinion (Op. 69/263) has held that, information as to race, creed or color is not a material fact and thus there is no obligation of disclosure on the part of the agent even following an express request by the principal.
From time to time, real estate offices are visited by individuals or organizations testing or checking compliance with fair housing laws. The "testers" or "auditors" play the role of persons looking for housing to buy or rent. They observe whether fair housing laws are being followed, and if not, they lodge complaints with appropriate fair housing agencies.
The following steps are usually involved in the testing procedure following a complaint that a particular broker has been acting in a discriminatory manner:
1. A Caucasian couple of certain socio-economic status is sent to the suspected broker and shows interest in the property in question.
2. Soon after, a minority couple of the same socio-economic background will come to the same real estate broker. They will answer the same essential questions with the same essential answers as did the earlier couple.
3. After the minority couple has finished, a different Caucasian couple will come in and repeat the same procedure.
4. The attitudes and representations of the broker to all three couples would now be compared and these findings will all be admissible in court procedures.
The testing for fair housing compliance is a recognized investigative technique and has been held legal by the Supreme Court. The argument that it is an unconstitutional appropriation of a real estate salesperson's time or an interference with free speech has been rejected. It must therefore be recognized as a risk and a cost of business.
Following is a presentation of the federal government's method of promoting the enforcement of the fair housing laws of Title VIII through VAMA. Recently the California Bureau of Real Estate Commission has included the study of VAMAs as part of a continuing education required Fair Housing course. The course will be a mandatory requirement for licensees renewing their license after 1/1/1996 as explained in Chapter XV of this book.
With the exception of comments which appear in brackets  the following text is taken from the government's own Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Handbook #8021. 1. Please note that large parts of this booklet are not reproduced. Readers are encouraged to obtain their own free copy of this booklet from the HUD. Breaks in the text are indicated by asterisks (***).
Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Handbook #8021. 1
a. This Handbook provides the background and authority for voluntary compliance activities, describes various kinds of voluntary plans and agreements that have been developed to promote HUD's equal opportunity goals, and specifies the procedure to be used in monitoring, evaluating, and reporting on these different kinds of voluntary instruments.
b. Three equal opportunity goals variously animate HUD's voluntary compliance activities:
(1) Expanding housing options for minorities and women by working for a condition in which individuals of similar income levels in the same housing market area have a like range of housing choices available to them.
(2) Providing equal treatment in the delivery of HUD program benefits.
(3) Expanding jobs, training and business opportunities for minorities and women.
1-5. PROGRAM POLICY.
a. There is a two-fold policy approach to HUD's voluntary compliance programs: (1) Cooperation and assistance in aiding persons, firms, agencies, and municipalities to comply voluntarily with the provisions of the Federal Fair Housing Law and HUD equal opportunity requirements; and (2) Encouragement of these same parties to exceed the level of formal requirements by affirmatively working for a condition in which all persons are enabled to live where they wish within their economic capability.
CHAPTER 2. COOPERATION WITH HOUSING INDUSTRY GROUPS AND
NATIONAL BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
2-1. INTRODUCTION. Vitally important components of support for equal housing opportunity are found in the private sector among housing industry groups, and national business and professional organizations. The Office of Voluntary Compliance pursues a variety of programs to enlist that support, chiefly, area wide affirmative marketing plans and agreements and national affirmative action programs.
a. Area wide Plans and Agreements. Voluntary area wide affirmative marketing plans and agreements commit signatory parties to collective action in support of affirmative marketing programs in specific housing market areas to achieve the goals of equal housing opportunity.
b. National Affirmative Action Programs. National associations and organizations are also encouraged to establish ongoing - fair housing programs for their members in order to contribute to the total programmatic effort.
2-2. HOUSING AND HOME FINANCE GROUPS THAT SUPPORT VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE
a. Home Builders. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has over 75,000 members and a local chapter in almost every major metropolitan area--each with an executive officer. Area Office FHEO Division Directors should establish effective liaison with these executive officers in order to implement HUD's voluntary affirmative marketing agreement with the NAHB, adopted on October 22, 1976.
b. Real Estate Brokers. The National Association of Realtors®(NAR) also has an affirmative marketing agreement with HUD. Since its adoption, all 1,600 member boards have been encouraged to endorse and implement the agreement. In addition, the NAR has revised its code of ethics, incorporating more extensive equal housing opportunity provisions. Pursuant to this code, member boards will not discriminate "in the sale, purchase, exchange, rental or lease of real property," will not participate in racial steering, panic tactics, or engage in any advertising that "indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, or ethnic background. "
2-2. NEGOTIATING VOLUNTARY AFFIRMATIVE MARKETING PLANS AND AGREEMENTS
[VAMAs have been signed by the HUD Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FEHO) with many groups like the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the National Association of Realtors®(NAR), the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the National Association of Real Estate Law Officials (NARELLO) made up of state real estate licensing officials, many state apartment associations, mortgage lenders, business organizations like major corporations, and numerous housing professionals like the Society of Real Estate Appraisers. The agreements are not necessarily identical in all points, but have been adapted to suit the particularity of each group. ]
3-1. DEFINITIONS AND DISTINCTIONS.
a. Agreements. Voluntary affirmative marketing agreements are quasi-contractual instruments negotiated between HUD Headquarters and any national association that represents some component of the housing industry, e. g. , Realtors® , Realtists, home builders and real estate license commissions. Each agreement is designed to carry out a broad equal opportunity program, including outreach advertising, affirmative employment, safeguards against racial steering, etc. ,--all designed to ensure that housing will be marketed on an equal opportunity basis. The national association party to an agreement then commends its adoption by member affiliates on a State and local level, and HUD's relationship shifts to the Area Office for purposes of technical assistance, monitoring, and organizing a citizen participation component. When approved and signed by a Regional Administrator, an agreement permits signatory applicants for HUD housing assistance to reference that document as meeting HUD fair housing/equal opportunity requirements.
b. Plans. Voluntary affirmative marketing plans are similar to agreements in purpose, but are negotiated on a local rather than a national level. While certain minimum plan elements, and housing industry group and individual signatory member responsibilities, are required to be included in all voluntary plans, local plan development is generally flexible. Optional provisions are negotiable and plans need not follow a standard format. In addition, the negotiation of voluntary plans do not exempt applicants for HUD housing assistance from fulfilling standard EO fair housing requirements. Voluntary plans are further distinguished from HUD's individual affirmative marketing plans in that the former involve all signatory members of an industry group in a given area, and must be signed by the Assistant Secretary for FHEO, while the latter are restricted to individual project applicants for HUD assistance.
3-2. PURPOSE AND ADVANTAGES.
a. Voluntary affirmative marketing plans and agreements promote institutional change on an area wide basis. The Department cannot expect complete equal housing opportunity until the real estate and building industries, apartment house association members, financial institutions, and local governments demonstrate their acceptance of minority applicants and affirmatively promote open communities.
b. There are several advantages to these voluntary plans and agreements over individual affirmative marketing plans:
(1) A voluntary program may involve all key elements of the housing industry--i. e. brokers, apartment house managers, and lending institutions, as well as builders.
(2) An industry group plan is likely to be more effective in achieving the objectives of affirmative marketing than an individual plan because of the area wide impact made by the most important firms of any industry group that simultaneously commit themselves to undertake educational activity among their employees and the public, spend their own funds for affirmative marketing, and effect a continuing liaison with the minority community through Community Housing Resource Boards.
(3) The industry group program applies to conventional, as well as HUD-assisted and insured housing, and the former constitutes over 90% of the housing market.
3-3. PROGRAM EMPHASIS. The Office of Voluntary Compliance is currently involved with four kinds of voluntary affirmative marketing instruments, each tailored to the particular kind of housing industry represented: builder groups, real estate boards, apartment house associations, and mortgage lending groups. Each Area Office FHEO Director must decide whether to negotiate with one group or a number of them simultaneously. The course taken should be influenced by the "readiness level" of the particular industry groups, negotiating difficulty expected, and community "climate. "
SELLING POINTS. Since industry representatives may not be interested in adopting voluntary programs unless they perceive a direct benefit to them, HUD negotiators should continually stress these benefits to the industry and to the community.
a. Advantages to the housing industry:
(1) Avoids the necessity of builders, doing business with HUD, filing detailed affirmative marketing plans for each HUD project application.
(2) Enables builders to secure waivers from the Veterans Administration and the Farmers Home Administration with respect to their equal opportunity requirements.
(3) Taps the minority and female market for housing more efficiently than individual plans, since group advertising is periodically employed to assure housing availability to potential minority and female home seekers.
(4) Achieves economies of scale over individual action, since industry-group staff assist individual firms in fulfilling their commitments under the voluntary agreement or plan.
(5) Provides credit for leadership in dealing with a critical social problem, and puts signatory firms on record in support of fair housing and equal opportunity.
(6) Promotes understanding and good will among the minority community, women's groups and industry groups.
(7) Makes it more difficult for discriminatory firms to undercut legitimate business competition.
(8) Reduces the likelihood of discrimination by agents of signatory firms.
b. Advantages to the community:
(1) Reduces the prospect of blockbusting, discrimination, and racial impaction by making housing more readily available, and providing an outlet for minority housing demands.
(2) Enhances the image of the city and should result in reduced racial tension.
(3) Promotes voluntary compliance with civil rights laws, thereby enhancing awareness of and respect for these laws.
a. Background. A standardized Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Agreement between HUD Headquarters (FHEO) and the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) was adopted by the NAR at its annual convention in San Francisco on November 11, 1975. (See Appendix A. ) Copies of the Agreement were then dispatched by the NAR to its 1,696 member boards across the country, with a cover letter and explanatory booklet (Realtors Guide to Practice Equal Opportunity in Housing) urging endorsement of the Agreement through local HUD Area Offices.
b. Applicability and Coverage. The Agreement applies only to those local real estate boards and member firms that endorse it. Subscription is not required of member firms of a local Board that endorses the Agreement, nor does Board adoption impose affirmative marketing obligations on any Realtors® member of the Board who has not voluntarily and independently subscribed to the Agreement. However, in respect to signatory firms, coverage of the Agreement extends to all housing, however financed, sold or rented through those firms. Every effort should be made by Area Office FHEO Directors to bring previously executed voluntary Realtors® plans up to the standard established by the National Agreement.
c. Parties and Administrative Responsibility. The Agreement operates through three official parties on a local level: the HUD Area Office, a signatory Board of Realtors® , and signatory member firms of that Board. Interpretation and overall direction of the Agreement is provided by HUD Headquarters and the National Association of Realtors® while, on a local level, administrative responsibility is vested in the Member Board's Equal Opportunity Committee.
d. Key Real Estate Board Responsibilities
(1) Places a fair housing ad in a newspaper of general circulation and makes an effort to secure the HUD approved "Publisher's Notice" in the local press and on television. Suggested ads are contained in Appendix "F" of the Affirmative Marketing Handbook, prepared by the NAR with HUD endorsement, and distributed to all local Boards of Realtors® and HUD Field Offices.
(2) Provides educational materials and training courses for member Realtors® pertaining to their responsibilities under fair housing laws and this Agreement.
(3) Disseminates to member firms the HUD/NAR-approved suggested office procedures and techniques designed to prevent discrimination. These are contained in the NAR Affirmative Marketing Handbook, pages 43-56.
(4) Urges minority brokers to join the local Board of Realtors® .
(5) Sponsors outreach and training programs to attract and qualify minority brokers and salespersons. The controlling word is "sponsor" rather than "conduct. "
(6) Monitors progress of the Agreement through the Board's EO Committee.
(8) Pays for administrative costs. Section VI of the Agreement does not require a local Board to subsidize the operation of a Community Housing Resources Board, although it may do so if it chooses. CHRB activity is eligible for funding under Community Development Block Grant Regulation 570. 206(c). To secure such funding, application must be made to the county or municipal agency designated to administer the CDBG program.
e. Responsibilities of Signatory Realtors® Firms
(1) Place Equal Opportunity logo or slogan in classified ads of 6 inches or longer, except when that page contains the "Publishers Notice. "
(2) Place EO logo or slogan in all brochures.
(3) Circulate in-house information on the Agreement and the Federal Fair Housing Law.
(4) Display the Fair Housing Poster in all places of business, including model homes.
(5) Recruit minority employees to be considered for vacancies as they occur.
(6) Adopt office procedures, suggested by HUD and the NAR, which are designed to ensure against discrimination. While adoption of these procedures is not required of signatory firms, failure to provide some effective safeguards against racial steering--which these procedures were primarily designed to prevent--could be construed as lack of commitment by the signatory firm in question. That problem should be referred by HUD and/or the CHRB to the Board's Equal Opportunity Committee with the expectation that the particular firm either respond or terminate its participation in the program. Should this become an endemic problem with broker signatories to an Agreement, the Agreement should be referred to the Assistant Secretary for possible termination.
(7) Advise home sellers, by means of pamphlet, of legal responsibility not to violate applicable fair housing laws.
(8) Monitor the above listed affirmative marketing practices.
f. Adoption by State Association of Realtors®. State Association adoption of the Agreement should be encouraged as part of its leadership role with Member Boards within the State. In addition, a State Association serves, in effect, as the Member Board for those Realtors® located in unassigned territory, not located within the jurisdiction of a local Board of Realtors® . Hence, a "rural" Realtor® in unassigned territory is able to subscribe to the Agreement only if it has been adopted by the State Association. In rural states lacking a local Board structure, a signatory State Association has obligations under the Agreement similar to those of a Member Board, such as administration, monitoring, displaying of posters, providing materials and training, and advertising in a newspaper that has state-wide circulation. HUD would have responsibility for organizing a state-wide CHRB (for example, a state human rights agency could function as a nucleus in the organization of a state-wide CHRB). Under these circumstances, Realtors® firm signatories to a State Association Agreement have the same obligations as Realtors® firm signatories to a Member Board Agreement.
g. HUD Area Office Responsibilities
(1) Solicits endorsement of the Agreement by real estate boards in the metropolitan areas of local office jurisdiction. Endorsements should appear for each Board separately on the signature page of a copy of the Agreement. The Agreement requires execution in triplicate by representatives of the Board, the HUD Area Manager, the Regional Administrator and the Director for Regional Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. Additional signed copies should not be requested of a local Board.
(2) In soliciting local Board endorsement of the Agreement, HUD officials may not require terms or conditions other than those approved by the National Association of Realtors® and HUD Headquarters (FHEO), as contained in the National Agreement. In the event that a local Board should prefer to negotiate its own agreement with HUD that is at variance with the National Agreement, HUD representatives must refuse to sign anything less comprehensive than the National Agreement. Moreover, such Board officials should be advised that the NAR will terminate its errors and omissions liability insurance coverage for Boards that endorse a deviant agreement.
(3) Organizes a Community Housing Resource Board (CHRB) per 3-5h of this Handbook.
(4) Monitors and evaluates the Agreement per Chapter 4 of this Handbook.
(5) Becomes familiar with NAR instructions for implementing the Agreement and other Realtors® material on Fair Housing Two primary sources of Realtors® material are Realtors®'s Guide to Practice Equal Opportunity in Housing and the NAR's Affirmative Marketing Handbook.
(6) It is the local real estate Board's responsibility to secure all Realtors® fair housing posters and documents from the National Association of Realtors® , 430 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611.
(7) Exempts any Realtors® signatory of this Agreement from the requirement of completing Form HUD-9556 (Joint HUD-VA Nondiscrimination Certification) if he/she desires to participate in the sale of HUD or VA owned properties. This exemption information should be provided to HUD's Housing Management Division and the local Veterans Administration Office. However, in addition to fulfilling the commitments of the Voluntary Realtors® Agreement, a signatory Realtors® recipient of HUD financial subsidy/ insurance is required to file monthly occupancy reports with HUD on Form(s) HUD 935. 1 (Monthly Sales Report and/or HUD 935. 4 (Monthly Rental Report), as applicable.
(8) Accepts requests from local Boards and CHRBs for technical assistance, conducts and participates in workshops, and works closely with CHRBs and Boards until they understand their functions and have begun effective cooperation. Assistance should be requested from the Regional Office and Headquarters, as needed.
h. Community Housing Resources Board (CHRB)
(1) Following a real estate Board's decision to adopt the Agreement, the first major task of a local HUD Office is to organize a Community Housing Resources Board (CHRB), consisting of a cross section of representatives of community organizations throughout the metropolitan area that have a demonstrated interest in fair housing and equal opportunity. This should be done in consultation with whatever local human rights agencies, women's groups, and civil rights/fair housing organizations organizational representation - one from each organization - should be solicited from the chief elected official of each organization. The local real estate Board should be included in that representation.
(2) The CHRB is an essential component to any voluntary plan or agreement. It is organized by local HUD FHEO staff to: (a) maximize communication between the housing industry group(s) involved and the minority and women's groups of the particular community; and (b) enhance the prospect of implementation of industry group commitments. The first objective requires broad minority and fair housing group representation on the CHRB. The second objective requires the most influential community representation possible, e. g. , real estate board, Chamber of Commerce, Mayor's Office, League of Women Voters, local bar association, mortgage lending institutions, etc.
(3) Joint meetings, referred to in the Agreement, should held at least quarterly in order to maximize the prospect for success in attaining the above stated objectives. Indeed, monthly meetings would be desirable in the initial stages of agreement or plan implementation.
(4) Appointments to a CHRB should be made for a one-year term, renewable annually at the discretion of HUD's FHEO Director. The constructive participation of a current appointee in the work of the CHRB should be considered prior to reappointment or replacement. If necessary, an Area Office FHEO Director may also dissolve a CHRB, but only with the full concurrence of the Director of Regional FHEO and the Assistant Secretary for FHEO.
(5) A list of CHRB designees, and the organizations which they represent should be forwarded through the Director of Regional FHEO to the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Attention: Director, Office of Voluntary Compliance. News releases relative to CHRB appointment should be handled at the Area Office level.
(6)The CHRB is a third party monitoring and advisory body. Minutes should be taken for each meeting of the CHRB and the real estate Board. Progress under the Agreement may well be conditioned upon the prestige of the CHRB and its interest in building a better community. HUD representatives should seek to sustain a cooperative and conciliatory working environment between the Equal Opportunity Committee of the Board and the CHRB.
(7) Civil rights/fair housing, and women's representatives on the CHRB should function in direct liaison with their organizations to assist HUD, the real estate Board, and member firms in the affirmative recruitment of minority and female salaried and sales employees. The CHRB should also assist and seek to resolve relevant problems brought to its attention by the local Board or any of its signatory firms.
(8) As part of its monitoring functions (to "assess progress" requires monitoring), the CHRB is expected to question the real estate board's EO Committee with regard to Board and signatory firm progress in meeting their commitments under the Agreement. The CHRB should also monitor housing ads for the presence of the "Publisher's Notice", EO logo or slogan, and to review the appropriateness with which human models are portrayed.
(9) Another way for the CHRB to assess progress is to maintain a record of any audits or discrimination complaints that their respective organizations may have referred to HUD, other agencies, or the courts. While HUD could not discuss the merits of complaints in the process of investigation or conciliation at meetings with the CHRB and the Board, the status of such complaints could be reported, and the Board's EO Committee could be apprised of the nature and extent of the problem that exists. Moreover, the kind of treatment accorded housing referrals made by the CHRB should be discussed at these meetings in order to get as complete a picture as possible of real estate practices. However, no CHRB may undertake testing of member brokers.
i. Evaluation, Amendment and Termination
(1) Section VIII of the Agreement is ambiguous in several respects. It is here clarified (in parenthesis) according to HUD-NAR interpretation:
"This (nationally executed) Agreement shall be effective for five years upon approval by the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity of HUD. During the sixty days prior to the expiration of each year (of the locally endorsed Agreement, as computed from the date of the highest ranking HUD official's signature), representatives of the Board, the State or local human rights enforcement agency (if represented on the CHRB), the Community Housing Resources Board, and HUD will meet to evaluate the effectiveness of the Agreement. HUD and the Board shall determine whether the Agreement, or some modification thereof, should be adopted for the following year. (Readoption does not require re-execution by HUD. ) However, where an evaluation of the Agreement at any time during its term reveals that reasonable progress is not being made toward achieving its objectives, the Agreement may be modified upon mutual consent of the parties. (Modification requires approval of the Assistant Secretary for FHEO and will result in NAR termination of the local Board's errors and omissions insurance. ) Where the parties are unable to agree upon the terms of a modification, any party may terminate the Agreement (although HUD may not do so without approval of the Assistant Secretary for FHEO). "
j. Reports. While there is no provision in the Agreement that requires performance reports of Realtors® signatories, Report Form HUD 941-A is used to assist HUD FHEO staff in the annual evaluation (See Appendix C). This annual evaluation report is required by HUD Headquarters for each and every Agreement that has been in effect for six months or longer.
k. Record of Signatories. While Section l-C of the Agreement has been waived by both HUD and the NAR, the Agreement contemplates that the Board will maintain a current list of all Realtors® who have individually subscribed to it. The NAR Affirmative Marketing Handbook (p. 20) states, with HUD concurrence: "This list shall be made available to responsible officials of HUD upon reasonable request. It should be made available to parties other than HUD only on such terms and conditions as are mutually agreed upon by HUD and the Board. "
l. Effectuating the Realtors® Agreement on a Local Level. Listed below are procedural steps that might be used by local HUD FHEO personnel to implement the Voluntary Realtors® Agreement:
(1) Contact the State Association of Realtors® (Executive Vice President) having professional jurisdiction over local real estate boards to be solicited for Agreement execution, and seek his/ her assistance in approaching those local Boards.
(2) Arrange informal lunch with the Executive Director/Executive Vice President, or President of the local real estate board. Bring copy of the Agreement together with copy of the NAR Affirmative Marketing Handbook. If conversation is affirmative, go to Step 3.
(3) Meet with special committee of the Board (EO Committee may already exist). Bring sufficient copies of the Agreement together with NAR Affirmative Marketing Handbook. Cover the Agreement paragraph by paragraph. Note any objections or controversy in interpretation. Try to clarify using NAR Handbook. Advise the Committee that you will respond to outstanding questions by mail.
(4) Consult with Regional Office or Headquarters (Voluntary Compliance) to clarify items noted above. Write a letter to the EO Committee Chairperson, copy to the Executive Vice President, responding to items of concern, and request that the Committee give a favorable recommendation to the Executive Board.
(5) Accept invitations by the Board to attend meetings concerning the Agreement. Use this Handbook and NAR Handbook as guides. Should an impasse be reached concerning some difficulty, suggest that the problem be referred to the National Office of the NAR in Chicago, Attn: Director of Member Activities.
(6) Indicate desire to attend Board meeting at which final decision will be made on adoption of the Agreement. If the decision is favorable, immediately request a committee of the Board to work with you in setting up a press conference and signing ceremony within two weeks.
(7) Press Conference and Signing Ceremony. Secure approval of the Board for the invitations, announcement and press release. Invitations should go to key persons in the area who are involved with civil rights, politics, the building industry and the news media.
(8) Consider Organizing a County-Wide CHRB. In counties where a number of Agreements have been executed or are anticipated, consider the feasibility of organizing a county-wide CHRB that could relate to all of the signatory Boards in that county. Business might be facilitated by having representatives of the several Boards meet simultaneously with the one CHRB.
(9) Select CHRB Members. CHRB members should be recruited, not as individuals, but as group representatives. Thus, initial contact should be with the head of the agency or organization desired to be represented. The agency head should be supplied with a copy of the Agreement and its implications should be fully discussed. The obligations of CHRB representation should also be discussed, and a request made to formally designate one person to represent that agency on the CHRB.
(10) Contact the nominated representative to be assured that he/she fully understands the implications of the nomination. If there is a question as to the nominee's willingness to undertake the responsibilities involved, go back to the agency head to discuss the possibility of a substitute nomination. Once the designation is firm, a letter of appointment should be sent to the representative accompanied by: (1) a copy of the April 1976 HUD Challenge magazine article, "The Precedent Setting Agreement Between HUD and NAR;" (2) a copy of the Agreement; (3) a list of members of the local real estate Board's EO Committee; (4) a list of other CHRB members, and (5) the HUD Handbook for Community Housing Resource Boards.
(11) Convene first meeting of the CHRB by mail with telephone reminder. This meeting should be coordinated with the Chairman of the Board's EO Committee and should be held at the local Board Office with members of its EO Committee. The meeting should be informal, and should be well publicized in advance, inviting media representation, and announcing CHRB membership. The meeting should facilitate representative group members meeting each other and the agenda should focus on the modus operandi of the CHRB, and a general discussion of the Agreement.
(12) Convene second meeting of the CHRB by mail with telephone reminder. This meeting should be a working session with CHRB members, Chairperson of the EO Committee and FHEO Director. Elect officers of the CHRB, determine meeting place and time, etc. Clarify that future meetings of the CHRB will be convened by its Chairperson, and should include the Chairperson of the Board's EO Committee. Possible meeting places: Chamber of Commerce, FHEO Office, Board Office, local human rights agency office. Provision should be made for taking, transcribing, and mailing minutes of all CHRB meetings. If other offices/agencies cannot undertake this service on a voluntary basis, the local HUD Office should do so.
m. Miscellaneous Inquiries and Information
(1) Is any member firm party to an Agreement immune from complaint investigation?
In no way is any exemption or immunity from compliance with Title VIII or any other fair housing law granted or implied by the Agreement.
(2) Should HUD authorize a local Board's Equal Opportunity Committee to investigate Title VIII complaints against member firms?
No. HUD may not delegate its investigating authority to any governmental body.
(3) Are prospective renters, as distinct from home buyers, covered by an Agreement?
Section II-A includes all services offered by a REALTORS® firm to respective home buyers and renters.
(4) Does the Freedom of Information Act apply to meetings or records of the Board's Equal Opportunity Committee?
The Freedom of Information Act does not apply to meetings or records of nongovernmental bodies, notwithstanding the fact that HUD may attend meetings of such a body.
(5) Can interested parties, who are not members of the Community Housing Resource Board, the Real Estate Board, or HUD attend meetings of the Board's Equal Opportunity Committee?
Not without unanimous consent of the officially designated representatives of the above three groups, since those meetings are intended as working sessions, not public forums.
(6) Can the local Real Estate Board be represented on the Community Housing Resource Board?
Yes. Indeed, it is necessary that a Board representative participate in CHRB activities in order to facilitate communication between the two groups. Other members of a CHRB cannot veto Board representation because the responsibility for appointment resides in HUD.
(7) Should HUD provide technical assistance to the Community Housing Resource Board as well as the local Real Estate Board?
Yes, to the extent of the Department's available resources.
(8) Since a Realtors® signatory to the Agreement is exempt from filing an individual affirmative marketing plan when selling HUD acquired properties, what are the requirements if the Realtor is also a builder or developer who applies for a HUD-insured loan?
A builder/developer applicant for HUD assistance, who is also a Realtor signatory to a Voluntary Realtors® Agreement, is exempt from filing an individual affirmative marketing plan; but as a builder/developer, he/she must submit monthly occupancy reports directly to the HUD Area Office. Form(s) HUD-935. 1 and/or HUD-935. 4 should be used for that purpose.
(9) What does I-C of the Agreement mean in respect to "non-signatory members of any classification?"
It means that member firms or brokers of a local Board that did not sign an Agreement at the time of its endorsement by the Board may subsequently sign the Agreement. However, subsequent to the printing of the Agreement, HUD Headquarters and the NAR decided that HUD approval need not be required to enable non-signatory firms to sign at a later date. Non-Realtors® are not eligible to sign the Agreement.
(10) How will the Board's EO Committee monitor progress of the program if there are no reporting requirements?
The Agreement calls for an assessment of progress at least semi-annually (V-A-4). We do not care how a local Board assesses progress, but we do want to know what that progress is. If a Board's EO Committee cannot assess progress, then it should be given an opportunity to develop whatever methods it deems necessary to provide that assessment. The risk in formally modifying the Agreement on a local level is having the "errors and omissions" insurance with NAR terminated. However, if an adequate assessment of progress becomes impossible to obtain, the HUD Area Office should recommend termination of the Agreement to the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity who has sole HUD authority to terminate.
(11) What is the role of a State or local human rights agency referred to in Section VIII? Is it a party to the Agreement?
No. It is important to involve the local office of a State and/or municipal human rights agency in the local Agreement, but this should be done through representation on the Community Housing Resource Board.
(12) Do member firms of a local real estate Board have to sign the Agreement?
Signatures are not required of member firms of a local Board as a condition of executing the Agreement on a local level, and adoption of the Agreement by a local Board does not impose affirmative marketing obligations on any Realtor member who has not voluntarily and independently subscribed to the Agreement. However, the provision for member firm commitments in the Agreement does anticipates eventual member subscription. Obviously, an Agreement that continues to have only Board endorsement is less likely to be implemented in all of its aspects. Hence, after the Agreement has been executed, the Board should be encouraged to secure endorsement of the Agreement by member firms. Repeated failure by the Board to secure member firm endorsement should be reported to the Assistant Secretary for FHEO, Attn: Office of Voluntary Compliance, who will work with the NAR to resolve this problem.
MORTGAGE LENDER PLANS
a. Background. Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination by any lending institution engaged in making commercial real estate loans against any applicant for housing assistance because of that applicant's race, religion, color, sex or national origin. The Act further requires that "All executive departments and agencies shall administer their programs and activities relating to housing and urban development in a manner affirmatively to further the purposes of this title and to cooperate with the Secretary of HUD to further such purposes. " In cooperation with the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, those Federal regulatory agencies responsible for supervising the activities of real estate lending institutions have already prescribed minimum procedures-a housing logotype poster, a notice of nondiscrimination, and advertising guidelines--to be used by banks and savings and loan associations under their authority. (See Federal Financial Regulatory Agencies: Nondiscrimination by Supervised Lending Institutions in Making Loans for Housing Purposes, HUD Bulletin, December 1972. )
b. Applicability. The types of lending institutions suitable for developing Voluntary Affirmative Lending Plans and the names of their respective regulatory agencies, are set forth in tabular form below.
Type of Lending Institution
Federally-Insured Savings and Loan Associations
National Banks (Any bank with "National " in its name)
State member commercial banks of the Federal Reserve System
Office of Community Investment, Federal Home Loan Bank Board, 1700 G St. , N. W. , Washington, 20552, Phone: 202-377-6000
Consumer Examination Division Comptroller of the Currency Washington, D. C. 20219 Phone: 202-447-1600
Office of Consumer Affairs, Federal Reserve System, 20th and C St. , N. W. Washington, D. C. 20551 Phone: 202-452-3401
Mutual Savings Banks and Office of Consumer Affairs
Commercial Banks, other and Civil Rights
than National Banks or Federal Deposit Insurance
State member banks of the Corp, 550 17th St. , N. W.
Federal Reserve System Washington, D. C. 20429
Federal Land Banks and Federal Land Bank Associations; Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, & Production Credit Association
Type of Lending Institution
State Savings and Loan Association, St ate Chartered Commercial Banks, a few Mutual Savings Banks
Farm Credit Administration, 490 L'Enfant Plaza, S. W. Washington, D. C. 20578 Phone: 202-755-2195
State Banking Authorities
HUD and the VA insofar as Federally-insured mortgages are involved
State Insurance Commissions
c. Major Parties to a Voluntary Lenders Plan
(1) HUD, through Area Managers with jurisdiction over the metropolitan area in question. Sign off required by Regional Administrator and Assistant Secretary for FHEO.
(2) The members of a "Lenders Group", consisting of as many lending institutions from the area as possible. Area bank representatives may already meet on a regular basis for clearinghouse purposes. Such a clearinghouse could function as the nucleus for a lenders group to include, in addition, insurance companies and mortgage bankers.
d. Rationale. These Plans are designed to accomplish two objectives: (1) to develop a condition in which all people within a given market area, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or marital status, will be afforded the same opportunity to apply for and, if qualified, receive commercial real estate and home improvement loans; and (2) to advance equal employment opportunity within firms signatory to the Plan.
e. Minimum Elements to include in the loan
(1) Specification of parties: HUD and as many lending institutions
in a given area as can be convened, collectively identified as the Lender Group.
(2) Statement of objectives: Define equal lending opportunity for housing purposes and equal employment opportunity in 1 ending institutions.
(3) Scope: Include the terms and conditions of all loans for the purpose of purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing, or maintaining a dwelling.
(4) Application Process: Each signatory to the plan will develop written, standardized loan application criteria, subject to review by HUD; make these criteria available to all loan applicants; and make loans based solely on an applicant's ability to fulfill the criteria.
(a) Each lender signatory will advertise the fact that it is an equal lending institution. Those firms that have not already done so will place "Equal Housing Lender" posters in conspicuous places throughout their offices.
(b) The Lender Group will develop information on fair lending practices which will be offered monthly to consumer groups of the area, such information to be prepared bilingually, if warranted by the ethnic composition of the area.
(c) The Lender Group will conduct an advertising campaign, to include newspaper ads declaring member signatories to be fair lending establishments; will prepare and distribute flyers, newsletters, and brochures for distribution to fair housing and consumer groups; and will place advertisements in minority newspapers and publications. Each member signatory advertisement, newsletter, and pamphlet should display the equal housing lender logotype.
(6) Employment: Each lender signatory will undertake affirmative employment practices to assure equal opportunity in employment, promotions, placements, layoffs, terminations, and benefits for all employees, and shall, in addition, undertake sensitivity training for all employees who deal with minority and women loan applicants.
(7) Equal Opportunity Officer. Each lender signatory will designate an Equal Opportunity Officer to carry out the provisions of the plan.
(8) Reporting: A reporting system to indicate problems and progress will be developed, that is mutually satisfactory to the signatories.
(9) Equal Opportunity Committee: The Lender Group will organize an Equal Opportunity Committee to consist of the Equal Opportunity Officer from each firm. The Committee will supervise and monitor the plan on behalf of signatory members, prepare and conduct training in respect to the plan, and function in a liaison capacity with HUD. Indeed, such a Committee, if organized promptly, could function as the Lender Group's negotiating team to develop the plan.
f. Optional Elements to Seek in the Plan
(1) Each lender signatory will provide minority and female owned businesses an opportunity to bid on printing, office supplies, sign painting, advertising, and other services needed by lender signatories.
(2) The Lender Group, through its Equal Opportunity Committee, will develop a "Code of Fair Mortgage Lending Practices" and commend its endorsement by each member firm. (See "Flag Program" developed by Mortgage Bankers of America. Appendix I. )
(3) The Equal Opportunity Committee will constitute a loan review committee whenever loan disapproval warrants.
(4) The Lender Group will adopt, and advocate for endorsement by each member firm, a general policy of investment and reinvestment in the area immediate to the location of each lending institution, and adopt and advocate a policy of correspondent reviews to police loan practices in other areas.
(5) The Lender Group will adopt, and advocate for endorsement by each member firm, equitable foreclosure procedures. (e. g. , Borrowers should be assured that foreclosure procedures will not be used to negate affirmative lending procedures. )
(6) Affirmative disclosure reporting under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975 requires lenders to post notice of loans made by census tract and zip code. This information should be made available to the loan review committee.
(7) A Community Housing Resource Board, organized by HUD, will meet at least quarterly with the Equal Opportunity Committee to assess program progress and to facilitate communication with minority groups in the area.
CHAPTER 4. MONITORING AND EVALUATING VOLUNTARY AFFIRMATIVE MARKETING AGREEMENTS
4-1. POLICY. The following monitoring and evaluation procedures shall apply to voluntary plans and agreements as described in this Handbook, except the NARELLO Agreement treated in Section 3-8.
4-2. PURPOSE AND PARTIES. A key element of each voluntary affirmative marketing plan or agreement is the monitoring and evaluation process. Monitoring indicates an ongoing review by interested parties to determine how a plan or agreement is working and its areas of weakness. Evaluation implies a periodic assessment through written reports. While HUD's responsibility for monitoring and evaluating these voluntary instruments resides with Area Office FHEO Division Directors, various plans and agreements also involve other parties in the monitoring/evaluation process, e. g. :
a. The Community Housing Resource Board (Realtors® Agreement) or Community Housing Leadership Board (Builder/Developer Agreement), and
b. The Housing industry group and/or unit of local government with which HUD signs the instrument, together with their constituent signatories.
4-3. PROCEDURE. All parties involved in monitoring should observe such changes as patterns of showing, renting and building in the market area; advertising content and coverage; extent of contact between the housing industry group and community groups; equal housing opportunities in all units marketed or built by industry group signatories; the effectiveness of the group's EO Officer; display of the official HUD Equal Opportunity slogan or logo; group and individual signatory outreach efforts; and all other activities called for in the plan or agreement.
4-4. HUD MONITORING THROUGH MONTHLY STATUS REPORT CHECK LIST
a. Each Office shall maintain an updated list of Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Plans and Agreements within its area of jurisdiction. Opposite each plan and agreement in the listing there should be a space provision for the date it was executed by the Assistant Secretary for FHEO (or the Regional Administrator, should the Assistant Secretary delegate his/her authority to the Regional Administrator) the date last renewed (or terminated), the date-last evaluated, the date its Community Housing Resource/Leadership Board was activated, and the date its CHRB or CHLB last met. (See Appendix K. )
b. An update of the complete master list shall be sent to the Regional Administrator, Attention: Director, Office of Regional Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, during the first week of each month.
c. In updating the list, changes should be made by erasing or "whiting out" any obsolete data from the list, encircling the new date in pencil, adding any new agreements to the bottom of the list, and duplicating copies of the updated master list for distribution. On the following month, penciling around last month's update should be erased.
d. The Director, Office of Regional FHEO, shall promptly send one copy of the updated lists to the Assistant Secretary (FHEO), Attention: Director, Office of Voluntary Compliance.
4-5. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.
a. Based on reports and meetings with the industry group's EO Committee, together with information secured from Community Housing Resource/Leadership Boards, the Area Office FHEO Director will develop annual evaluations of all voluntary plans and agreements that have been in execution for at least six months, and submit them to the Director, Office of Regional Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. Every such plan and agreement should be evaluated within sixty days prior to its annual anniversary date.
b. Realtors® Agreements are to be reported on Form HUD 941A, Home Builders Agreements on Form HUD 941B. Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Plans that do not exempt signatories from the need to file individual affirmative marketing plans should be reported in brief narrative form in any way that covers the salient commitments of the plan. Upon receipt from the Area Office, one copy of each report should be forwarded by the Director, Office of Regional FHEO to the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Attention: Director, Office of Voluntary Compliance
c. Community groups assess progress of a plan or agreement independently and voluntarily, and there are no formal reporting requirements involved.
However, the information that they transmit to the HUD Area Office FHEO Director should be given careful consideration and be incorporated into the annual reports when relevant.
d. In developing an evaluation report, the Area Office FHEO Director should carefully examine information received from the local industry group source and should seek clarification on any item that appears to be questionable or incomplete.
4-6. TERMINATING SERIOUSLY DEFICIENT VOLUNTARY PLANS AND AGREEMENTS
a. Advisement of Desirable Corrective Action. During the annual evaluation discussion of a voluntary plan or agreement, the HUD Area Office FHEO Director should bring inadequacies in implementation to the attention of the industry group person or committee responsible for administering the instrument. Should there be two or more serious omissions in implementation for any instrument having an organized CHRB or CHLB, the Area Office FHEO Director should write a letter to the industry group recapitulating the points of inadequacy, placing special emphasis on the serious points. (See Para. g below). In this letter, the Director should also indicate a willingness to consult with the group's EO Committee, or appropriate representative, to develop methods to correct these problems, and request a meeting within 60 days to ascertain how the inadequacies have been corrected.
b. Letter of Possible Termination. Should the industry group fail to respond to the request for a meeting, after a telephone reminder, or should it indicate an unwillingness to meet, or should the meeting reveal lack of effort to correct the serious inadequacies specified in the HUD letter, the Area Office FHEO Director will communicate lack of corrective progress to the Director, Office of Regional FHEO. The industry group should then be advised through certified mail by the Director, Office of Regional FHEO, that unless the specified inadequacies have been corrected within sixty (60) days of posting of the letter, the HUD Regional Office will recommend termination of the instrument by the Assistant Secretary for FHEO. A copy of that letter of possible termination will be sent to the Assistant Secretary, FHEO, Attention to the Director, Office of Voluntary Compliance.
c. Action of the Assistant Secretary. Upon receipt of a copy of a letter of possible termination, the Assistant Secretary for FHEO will bring the problem of lack of performance to the attention of the national office of the industry involved, seeking its intervention to secure the corrective action desired.
d. Recommendation of Termination. Sixty days after the Regional Office posting of a letter of possible termination, the HUD Area Office FHEO Director, within whose jurisdiction the instrument exists, will assess whether the local industry group in question has corrected the serious inadequacies cited in the letter. Lacking correction, the Area Office FHEO Director should recommend termination of the instrument to the Director, Office of Regional FHEO. The latter may independently verify whether adequate corrective action has been taken. Should the Director, Office of Regional FHEO, determine that the serious inadequacies cited have not been remedied, he/she, through the Regional Administrator, should recommend termination of the instrument to the Assistant Secretary, FHEO.
e. Termination by the Assistant Secretary, FHEO. Upon receipt of a recommendation to terminate a seriously deficient voluntary plan or agreement from a Regional Administrator, the Assistant Secretary for FHEO will communicate his/her decision on termination to the Regional Administrator, the president of the national industry group association, and the president of the local housing industry group.
f. Exception to the Above Procedure. Should any seriously deficient plan or agreement in execution contain a corrective and termination provision at variance with the above procedure, the corrective procedure contained in the instrument itself will be invoked.
g. Examples of Serious Deficiencies. The following constitute examples of serious deficiencies in instrument implementation:
(1) Realtors®' Agreement
(a) The Board has made no provision to monitor its own commitments and those of signatory firms under the agreement.
(b) Principles and procedures of office management designed to prevent racial steering have not been disseminated by the Board to its members.
(c) The Board has not developed an informational program on the Agreement and fair housing laws for its member firms.
(d) The Board does not regularly place an affirmative marketing ad in a local newspaper of general circulation on a quarterly basis.
(2) Home Builders' Agreement
(a) Builder group has made no provision to monitor its own commitments and those of signatory firms under the Agreement.
(b) Builder group has not regularly submitted to the HUD Area Office, on a quarterly basis, a rental and sales occupancy report and a description of all actions taken by the builder group to implement its commitments under the Agreement.
(c) Builder group has made no provision to instruct the employees of signatory firms on fair housing laws and their responsibilities under the Agreement.
(3) Any Voluntary Plan
(a) Industry group has made no provision to monitor commitments made under the Plan.
(b) Industry group has not executed most of its own commitments under the Plan.
[The booklet continues with several sample agreements. Herewith is reproduced a sample of the National Association of Realtors® VAMA. ]
SAMPLE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® VAMA
VOLUNTARY AFFIRMATIVE MARKETING AGREEMENT
PURPOSE AND GOAL
The purpose of the Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Agreement (VAMA) between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) is to advance the Department's priority to enforce fair housing for all and the NAR commitment to provide fair housing for all through programs of voluntary assistance, affirmative marketing, outreach and education. The goal of both HUD and NAR in developing and implementing this Agreement is affirmatively to further fair housing through voluntary efforts that result in the provision of equal housing opportunity to all home seekers regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.
The authority for HUD to enter into this Agreement is set forth in Section 809 of Title VIII of Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended, commonly called The Fair Housing Act, which states that "The HUD Secretary) shall call conferences of persons in the housing industry and other interested parties to acquaint them with the provisions of this title and suggested means of implementing it, and shall endeavor with their advice to work out programs of voluntary compliance and of enforcement," (42 U. S. C. sec. 3609).
The Fair Housing Act, as passed in 1968, prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 extended protection to families with children and the disabled.
PARTIES and SUBSCRIPTION
A. The parties to this Agreement are:
1. The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and
2. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
3. The undersigned State Association of REALTORS® or Local Board/Association of REALTORS®.
The State Associations and Boards which are parties to the VAMA effective through June 9, 1992, shall have a grace period of up to one 1 year from the date the NAR President and the HUD Secretary adopt this Agreement to become parties to this Agreement, during which period the State Association or Board shall carry out provisions of the previous VAMA.
B. Subscribers to this Agreement are:
1. REALTORS® members of a Board who elect to subscribe and
2. REALTORS® in unassigned territories who elect to subscribe.
Members who are Signatories to a VAMA in effect through June 9, 1992, shall have a grace period of up to one (1) year from the date the NAR President and HUD Secretary adopt this Agreement to become a Subscriber or Signatory to this Agreement. During that period, the member shall comply with the provisions of the previous VAMA.
C. Member Signatories
1. REALTORS® members of the Board or in unassigned territories, as Subscribers, agree that their status as Signatories under this Agreement shall be made known to HUD and may be referenced in lieu of submitting an individual Affirmative Fair Housing Plan or certification as referenced in Part m, Paragraph IV of this Agreement.
D. This Agreement is presented in three parts to represent areas of activity appropriate for implementation by HUD and components of NAR designated above.
Part I represents the approval of the Agreement in total by HUD and NAR, and the priority of HUD to enforce fair housing for all and the commitment of NAR to provide fair housing for all through voluntary efforts that result in the provision of equal housing opportunity to all home seekers, regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.
Part II sets out the responsibilities of State Associations and Boards.
Part III sets out the commitment by REALTORS®, within the jurisdiction of Signatory Boards, to principles of fair housing marketing. It contains affirmative marketing techniques for use by Subscribers and Signatories, and is intended to be used in connection with specific implementation guidelines provided by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Part III is also to be signed by REALTORS® in unassigned territory, who, through their endorsement or subscription, will be under the domain of a State Association.
For purposes of this Agreement, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth below, unless the context indicates otherwise:
A. HUD means the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
B. Secretary means the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
C. Assistant Secretary means the HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
D. NAR means the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
E. State Association means a State Association of REALTORS® that is party to this Agreement.
F. Board means a Board or Association of REALTORS® that is party to this Agreement.
G. Member means a REALTORS® member of a Board or a REALTORS® in an unassigned territory.
H. Subscriber means a member who has subscribed to this Agreement on behalf of the member's firm.
I. Signatory means a Subscriber who elects to reference its status as a Signatory under this agreement in lieu of submitting an individual Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan or executing a certification as outlined in Part III, Paragraph IV of this agreement. The names of Signatories will be provided to HUD and may be made public as outlined in Part II, Paragraph IV (2) of this Agreement.
J. Associate means a salesperson associated with a member and any employee involved with the sale and/or rental of real property.
K. Fair Housing Act means Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U. S. C. sec. 3601-3619.
L. 1866 Act means 42 U. S. C. , sec. 1982, first enacted as Section 1 of Chapter 31, Act of April 9, 1866. The 1866 Act was construed by the U. S. Supreme Court, in Jones v. Mayer, 392 U. S. 409 (1968), to prohibit racial discrimination, private as well as public, in the sale or rental of real property.
M. Fair Housing Laws means the Fair-Housing Act, the 1866 Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.
N. EOC means the Equal Opportunity Committee of a Board or State Association.
O. Community Group means a local civil rights, fair housing or other community based organization with a substantial interest in fair housing and equal opportunity that supports the principle of affirmatively furthering fair housing through voluntary efforts.
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) hereby agree to the following activities with respect to the Voluntary affirmative Marketing Agreement (VAMA) and in consideration of the mutual obligations of the parties:
I. Joint Approval
NAR and HUD hereby approve the agreement at Part II of this document for use by State Associations and Boards. NAR and HUD also hereby approve the agreement at Part III of this document for use by REALTORS® members and REALTORS® in unassigned territories.
II. Outreach and Training
A. NAR agrees to develop and disseminate publications and other information to assist in implementing affirmative marketing and fair housing training programs, and programs to attract persons of all racial and ethnic groups, of both sexes, with and without disabilities, and individuals otherwise protected from discrimination by the Fair Housing Act into the real estate industry as licensed real estate brokers and salespersons.
B. HUD and NAR agree to cooperate in the development and evaluation of and participate in national Fair Housing conferences as may be convened by HUD and/or NAR to discuss programs designed to promote the concepts and objectives of the VAMA.
C. HUD and NAR agree each may develop fair housing and affirmative marketing training programs suitable for use by all housing industry groups.
D. NAR agrees to work with State Associations to obtain certification for fair housing training programs as recognized components for State real estate license continuing education credits.
III. Fair Housing Marketing and Office Procedures
NAR agrees to publish a Fair Housing Handbook for use by Subscribers and Signatories. NAR shall include in the handbook recommended fair housing marketing strategies to further the goals and purposes of this Agreement and recommended fair housing procedures, including procedures relating to office operations, marketing and advertising policies developed by NAR.
The handbook shall encourage the development and implementation of the recommended fair housing procedures and advertising policies by Subscribers and Signatories, and shall include appropriate guidance on their adoption and use and the measurement of their effectiveness.
The handbook shall encourage the use of advertising policies which indicate that advertised housing is open to all persons and is designed to attract buyers and renters, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
NAR shall revise the handbook as may be necessary and shall provide HUD with copies of the latest edition of the handbook.
A. NAR shall prepare sample affirmative marketing advertisements and shall promulgate and disseminate these for use by Boards. NAR shall submit the samples to HUD, and HUD and NAR shall agree on the form and content of the advertisements. HUD and NAR shall review the advertisements as warranted by changes in federal law.
B. HUD agrees to provide NAR with camera-ready copy of the Equal Housing Opportunity logotype, in appropriate sizes for use by Subscribers and Signatories in complying with the advertising provisions of the VAMA.
C. HUD and NAR agree to work with national newspaper and magazine industry associations to increase media understanding of fair housing advertising responsibilities, and to assist Boards in their efforts to secure placement of the HUD "Publisher's Notice" on the lead page of each real estate classified advertising section of a newspaper or magazine.
D. NAR agrees to provide guidance and counsel to State Associations and Boards regarding fair housing advertising responsibilities.
V. Annual Evaluation
A. NAR agrees to prepare annually a report evaluating the effectiveness of the Agreement. NAR shall review State Association evaluations and a representative sample of Board reports to aid its analysis. NAR shall also include a review of any NAR or HUD evaluations of State Association or Board efforts in its report. The annual evaluation will be presented to the HUD Assistant Secretary.
B. HUD agrees to review and respond to such reports.
C. NAR shall select a representative sample of State Associations and Boards for evaluation. NAR may invite HUD to send a representative to any on-site evaluation. NAR shall meet with representatives of the State Association or Board to assess the State Association's or Board's progress in achieving the objectives and goals of this agreement.
D. HUD may select State Associations and/or Boards for on-site evaluation, and shall coordinate that selection with NAR. HUD shall notify NAR regarding any on-site evaluation and allow NAR an opportunity to address any issues raised by HUD. HUD may invite NAR to send a representative to any on-site evaluation. HUD shall prepare a written report following the on-site evaluation and shall provide a copy of HUD's evaluation to NAR and the State Association or Board.
E. If an evaluation of a State Association or Board reveals that reasonable progress is not being made towards achieving Agreement objectives, NAR and the State Association or Board shall identify actions and steps to be taken within a specified time frame and submit these to HUD within 30 days for approval. If the evaluation was conducted by NAR, the submission to HUD of actions and steps to be taken will include identification of the type of party evaluated and the FHEO Field and Regional Office responsible for that jurisdiction, but will not include the identity of the State Association or Board. HUD shall notify NAR of its approval of the recommended corrective action or other corrective actions. The evaluating party shall notify the State Association or Board of the corrective action necessary and shall determine that the corrective action has been taken within the time specified.
F. If the State Association or Board does not agree to take the needed corrective action, or fails to take such action within the time specified, HUD and NAR shall make a preliminary determination as to whether the State Association or Board should be suspended as a party to this Agreement. Written notice of such determination shall be given to the State Association or Board. The State Association or Board may submit a written appeal to NAR. HUD agrees to meet with NAR to discuss the merits of an appeal prior to a final decision being made. The Assistant Secretary shall make the final decision on the suspension of the State Association or Board and shall notify NAR of the action.
VI. Suspension Or Subscribers
A. Whenever the Equal Opportunity Committee of the Subscriber's Board (EOC) has reasonable cause to believe that a Subscriber has failed to make good faith efforts to comply with the responsibilities of this Agreement, the EOC shall contact the Subscriber and arrange for a meeting with the Subscriber and any other principals of the firm to identify and discuss the area(s) of non-compliance. The EOC and Subscriber shall determine appropriate corrective action needed to achieve compliance, including a timetable for taking such action.
B. If the Subscriber does not agree to take the needed corrective action, or fails to take such action within the time specified, the EOC shall recommend to the Board of Directors that it suspend the Subscriber's status.
VII. Suspension of Signatories
A. Whenever HUD or the Equal Opportunity Committee (EOC) has reasonable cause to believe that a Signatory has failed to make good faith efforts to comply with his or her responsibilities under this Agreement, representatives of the HUD Regional Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity and the EOC shall meet to discuss the matter. If the HUD representatives determine that corrective action by the Signatory is needed to achieve compliance, the representatives of the EOC shall contact the Signatory and arrange for a joint meeting with the HUD representatives and the Signatory and any other principals of the firm to identify and discuss the area(s) of non-compliance. The HUD representatives shall determine appropriate corrective action needed to achieve compliance, including a timetable for taking such action.
B. If the Signatory does not agree to take the needed corrective action, or fails to take such action within the time specified, the matter shall be submitted to the Regional Director of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity to consider whether the Signatory should be suspended as a party to this Agreement. Written notice of such submission shall be given to the Signatory. The Signatory may submit written arguments and/or other materials in support of his position to the Regional Director. The Regional Director shall also provide NAR with a copy of such notice and any written arguments and other materials submitted by the Signatory. The Regional Director shall make a recommendation to the Assistant Secretary, who shall make the final decision on the suspension of the Signatory. The Signatory and NAR shall be notified in writing of the action of the Assistant Secretary.
C. The suspension of a Signatory as a party to this Agreement shall remain in effect until the Assistant Secretary has determined that the Signatory should be reinstated.
VIII. Periodic Meetings
HUD and NAR agree to meet periodically (no less than twice a year) to discuss issues relating to the implementation, application, or interpretation of this Agreement. Additional meetings may be held as mutually agreed to by HUD and NAR.
IX. Term of Agreement
This Agreement between HUD and NAR shall be in effect for a term of five years from the date it is signed by the NAR President and HUD Secretary.
This Agreement is adopted by NAR and HUD, acting through their respective authorized representatives, on this 8th day of June, 1992.
For the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Chairman, NAR Equal Opportunity Committee
For the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
LOCAL BOARDS or ASSOCIATIONS OF REALTORS® AND
STATE ASSOCIATIONS OF REALTORS®' RESPONSIBILITIES
A. The Board, with the cooperation of its member subscribers, shall establish an Equal Opportunity Committee (EOC) with the following responsibilities:
1. To explain and publicize the purpose and provisions of this Agreement to all members and promote the adoption of this Agreement to achieve the broadest possible participation in this Agreement by members;
2. To implement and monitor the progress of the affirmative marketing program set out in this Agreement;
3. To assist the Grievance Committee in receiving and investigating complaints of violations of Article 10 of the NAR Code of Ethics and of the NAR Code for Equal Opportunity in Housing.
B. The State Association shall establish an Equal Opportunity Committee to explain and publicize the purposes of the Agreement to Boards, coordinate the activities of Signatory Boards, promote adoption by non-Signatory Boards and make the Agreement available to members in unassigned territory.
C. The Board (or State Association) shall adopt the NAR Code for Equal Opportunity in Housing, as amended .
D. The Board (or State Association) shall authorize expenditures as needed to carry out appropriately the affirmative marketing activities set forth in this Agreement.
E. Neighboring Boards or those in multi-Board management programs may cooperate in the implementation of this Agreement. Cooperative efforts shall be reported to the State Association.
F. The Board (or State Association) agrees to follow the procedures outlined in Part I, Paragraphs VI and VII of this Agreement regarding the suspension of Subscribers and Signatories under the jurisdiction of the Board or State Association.
II. AFFIRMATIVE FAIR HOUSING MARKETING STRATEGIES
The Board (or State Association) agrees to take the following affirmative steps to further the goals and purposes of this Agreement and to implement the fair housing marketing principles outlined in Part m of this Agreement:
A. Development of Educational Materials and Training Courses
1. The Board shall make available fair housing and VAMA educational materials and training courses for members, their associates, and new broker or associate members, and advise members of fair housing courses being offered for continuing education credits. The Board is encouraged to utilize materials and training courses developed by the State Association, NAR and/or HUD.
2. The Board shall have available for its members copies of the NAR Fair Housing Handbook.
3. The State Association shall conduct at least two educational seminars annually on the Fair Housing Laws and implementation of the Agreement, and work with the State real estate licensing agency to certify fair housing courses for continuing education credits, where applicable.
B. Public Commitment to Fair Housing
1. The Board shall publicize its commitment to Pair Housing to the community. Acceptable means to publicize this commitment include the quarterly placement of an approved affirmative marketing advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the housing market area served by the Board.
2. The Board shall negotiate with local newspapers and television and radio stations for the donation of space and time for the presentation of the Board's affirmative marketing advertisement to the public and the publication of the recommended "Publisher's Notice. "
3. The Board shall explain and publicize the purposes and provisions of this Agreement to all of its members, and through them to their associates, to encourage members to subscribe to this Agreement and to achieve broad participation by members.
4. The Board shall disseminate Fair Housing posters for display in the offices of Subscribers and Signatories.
5. State Associations and Boards may develop local versions of the NAR flyer "What Everyone Should Know About Equal Opportunity in Housing" for use by Subscribers and Signatories, and may authorize the incorporation of the NAR or revised flyer in member promotional material.
C. Development of Fair Housing Procedures and Advertising Policies to Carry Out the Purpose of this Agreement
1. The Board (or State Association) either shall adopt NAR's recommended fair housing procedures, including procedures relating to office operations, and advertising policies, or shall develop suggested fair housing procedures and advertising policies which are consistent with the recommended procedures and policies developed by NAR and contained in the Fair Housing Handbook. The Board shall disseminate these fair housing procedures and policies to its members and encourage their development and implementation by Subscribers and Signatories.
2. The Board shall establish procedures to review with its Subscribers and Signatories their progress in developing and adopting fair housing procedures and advertising policies and to assess whether adherence to those procedures and policies is achieving the intended goals and purposes.
D. Dual Opportunity in the Real Estate Industry
1. The Board (or State Association) shall:
a. Encourage brokers of all racial and ethnic groups, of both sexes, with and without disabilities, and individuals otherwise protected from discrimination by the Fair Housing Act, to apply for membership,
b. Promote the recruitment of persons from all racial and ethnic groups, of both sexes, with and without disabilities, and individuals otherwise protected from discrimination by the Fair Housing Act, into the real estate industry,
c. Encourage the participation of persons of all racial and ethnic groups, of both sexes, with and without disabilities, and individuals otherwise protected from discrimination by the Fair Housing Act, at all levels within the Association.
2. The Board (or State Association) shall sponsor outreach and training programs to . persons of all racial and ethnic groups, of both sexes, with and without disabilities, and individuals otherwise protected from discrimination by the Fair Housing Act, to the real estate industry as licensed real estate brokers and salespersons.
E. Community Involvement
The Board shall seek to be a partner with the community in efforts to identify and remove barriers to equal opportunity in housing in the community. The Board is encouraged to formulate relationships with civil rights, fair housing and other community based organizations with a substantial interest in fair housing as a conduit to meet fair housing and VAMA objectives.
HUD and NAR may identify such civil rights, fair housing or other community groups with a substantial interest in fair housing.
2. Cooperative efforts include, but are not limited to, the following:
a. To outreach to the housing industry and education of its membership on fair housing laws and affirmative marketing techniques;
b. To assist and assess, at the Board's invitation, implementation of the affirmative marketing provisions of this Agreement; and
c. To foster communication between the local housing industry and community groups which support equal housing opportunity.
3. HUD may organize meetings, conferences or Community Groups to facilitate this cooperation. The Board is encouraged to participate in HUD organized efforts.
m. ANNUAL EVALUATION
A. The Board shall, on an annual basis, review its efforts to implement the principles of this Agreement. Such review shall be summarized on a report made to HUD, the State Association and NAR.
B. To assist in this review, the Board is encouraged to select the input of a broad spectrum of organizations throughout the community that have a substantial interest in Pair Housing.
C. Multi-Association efforts may be summarized on one report to be appended to the Board report.
D. The State Association shall receive and review Board reports to aid its analysis of the effectiveness of the implementation of this Agreement on a statewide basis. The State Association shall prepare a report and present that report to HUD and NAR.
IV. LIST OF SIGNATORIES
A. The Board or Association, NAR and HUD shall maintain a current list of all Signatories. Whenever a member who is not currently a Signatory becomes a new Signatory, or is reinstated as a Signatory, the Board shall send a copy of the document by which a member has subscribed to the Agreement or has been reinstated to NAR and the Assistant Secretary.
B. The Assistant Secretary shall use the list of Signatories for HUD's internal purposes only, including, but not limited to: (a) identification of Signatories in conjunction with the annual evaluation of the Board or Association; and (b) verification of the current Signatory status of any member who has applied for participation in a HUD/FHA program and has referenced his or her Signatory status under this Agreement.
C. The Assistant Secretary may disclose the list or its contents to a person or entity not a party to this Agreement but shall advise NAR of any such disclosure.
V. STATE ASSOCIATION RESPONSIBILITIES FOR REALTORS®IN UNASSIGNED TERRITORY
The State Association shall implement Board requirements for unassigned territories identified in Paragraph II. subparagraphs (A)(2), (B)(3), and (C).
VI. EFFECTIVE DATE OF AGREEMENT
Part II of this Agreement shall be in effect until:
A. The State Association or Board advises HUD and NAR in writing that it no longer wishes to be a Signatory; or
B. The State Association or Board is suspended as provided for in Part I, Paragraph V of this Agreement; or
C. The last day of the term of this Agreement as outlined in Part I, Paragraph IX of this Agreement.
VII. BOARD or STATE ASSOCIATION ADOPTION
This Agreement was adopted by the Board of Directors of the
Association/Board of REALTORS® at a meeting held on , 19 , at, and the officers whose names are set forth below have been duly authorized to execute this Agreement on behalf of the Board or Association. .
This Agreement has been approved by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, acting through the following designated HUD official:
Regional Director, FHEO
REALTORR MEMBERS' RESPONSIBILITIES
I. AFFIRMATIVE FAIR HOUSING MARKETING PRINCIPLES
Subscribers and Signatories agree to the following principles of fair housing marketing to further the goals and purposes of this Agreement:
A. Fair Housing Education and Training Being informed regarding responsibilities under the Pair Housing Laws and this Agreement.
B. Public Commitment to Fair Housing -
Making a public commitment to providing affirmatively equal professional service and informing the public that services are provided by the firm without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, or national origin.
C. Fair Housing Procedures ?
Implementing affirmative fair housing procedures, including procedures relating to office operations, to insure the provision of equal professional service by all associated with the firm, and to avoid practices which limit housing choice.
D. Equal Opportunity in the Real Estate Industry ?
Affirmatively recruiting salaried employees and independent contractors to provide opportunities in the real estate industry to members of all racial and ethnic groups, of both sexes, with and without disabilities, and individuals otherwise protected from discrimination by the Fair Housing Act.
E. Community Efforts ?
Participation in efforts to identify and remove barriers to equal opportunity in housing in the community.
II. AFFIRMATIVE FAIR HOUSING MARKETING STRATEGIES
Subscribers and Signatories agree to make good faith efforts to utilize the following strategies to implement the above stated principles of fair housing marketing.
A. Fair Housing Education and Training
1. Each Subscriber and Signatory shall explain and publicize the purposes and provisions of this agreement to all associates.
2. Each Subscriber and Signatory shall provide, either directly or through Board or Association sponsored programs, ongoing training and education to inform all associates of their responsibilities under this Agreement and under the Fair Housing Laws, and urge associates to attend and participate in Board or Association training programs.
3. Each Subscriber and Signatory shall obtain and make available to all associates the NAR Fair Housing Handbook.
B. Public Commitment to Fair Housing
1. Each Subscriber and Signatory shall display, in a prominent place in the Subscriber's or Signatory's office, the Fair Housing Poster developed jointly by HUD and NAR and which includes the Code for Equal Opportunity promulgated by NAR.
2. Each Subscriber and Signatory shall use advertising policies for the sale or rental of housing that indicate to the general public that the advertised housing is open to all persons and is designed to attract buyers and renters without regard to race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, or national origin.
3. Such advertising shall include an official Equal Housing Opportunity slogan or logotype as follows:
a. In all display advertising, the Equal Housing Opportunity logotype, when used, shall be at least 1/2" by 112" in size.
b. In each "classified" advertisement of six (6) column inches or larger in size, except where the HUD "Publisher's Notice" appears on the lead page of the classified advertising section of the newspaper or magazine.
c. In a prominent place on all brochures, circulars, billboards, and direct mail advertising.
d. In a prominent place on signs and all other forms of advertising not specifically referred to in subparagraphs 3(a), (b) and (c) above, where its inclusion does not significantly increase the cost of advertising.
4. In order to promote awareness by home sellers and lessors of the requirements of the Fair Housing Laws and the equal opportunity policy of the Subscriber or Signatory, each Subscriber and Signatory shall encourage all associates to distribute copies of the NAR flyer entitled "What Everyone Should Know About Equal opportunity in Housing," or its equivalent developed as outlined in Part n, Paragraph II (B)(5) of this Agreement, to all clients at the time the listing contract is signed.
C. Fair Housing Procedures and Advertising Policies
1. Each Subscriber and Signatory shall adopt fair housing procedures, including procedures relating to office operations, and advertising policies to implement the goals and purposes of this Agreement: To provide fair housing for all.
2. The Subscriber or Signatory either shall adopt the fair housing procedures adopted or developed by the Board or Association, or shall develop fair housing procedures and advertising policies which, at a minimum, are consistent with the procedures and policies adopted or developed by the Board or Association.
3. Each Subscriber or Signatory shall require all associates to follow the procedures and policies adopted by the Subscriber's or Signatory's firm.
4. The fair housing procedures, including those relating to office operations, shall address the provision of equal professional service without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, or national origin.
5. The advertising policies shall incorporate the provisions of Part m, subparagraph II B of this agreement.
D Equal Opportunity in the Real Estate Industry
1. Each Subscriber and Signatory shall affirmatively recruit persons of all racial and ethnic groups, of both sexes, with and without disabilities, and individuals otherwise protected from discrimination by the Fair Housing Act, as salaried employees and independent contractors through the use of the "Equal Employment Opportunity" slogan in all advertisements for employees and independent contractors.
E. Association and Community Efforts
1. Each Subscriber and Signatory shall encourage all associates to participate in Association equal opportunity activities.
2. Each Subscriber and Signatory is encouraged to participate in Association activities designed to develop a partnership with the community in efforts to identify and remove barriers to equal opportunity in housing in the community.
III. STANDARD FOR EVALUATING MEMBER'S PERFORMANCE UNDER THIS AGREEMENT
In evaluating the Subscriber's and Signatory's compliance with this Agreement, the overall effort to implement the principles and strategies of fair housing marketing will be considered.
IV. ACCEPTANCE OF SIGNATORY STATUS OF MEMBER IN LIEU OF INDIVIDUAL AFFIRMATIVE FAIR HOUSING MARKETING PLAN
During the effectiveness of this Agreement, any Signatory who hereafter applies for participation in any HUD/FHA program and would otherwise be subject to the requirement of the HUD Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Regulations or to the Joint HUD-VA Nondiscrimination Certification may, in lieu of submitting an individual Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan or executing the Certification, reference his status as a Signatory under this Agreement.
V. EFFECTIVE DATE OF AGREEMENT
A. This Agreement shall be in effect for any Subscriber until:
1. A Subscriber advises the Board that he no longer wishes to be a Subscriber; or
2. The Subscriber is suspended, as provided for in Part I, Paragraph VI of this Agreement.
3. The expiration date of this Agreement unless renewed by HUD and NAR.
B. This Agreement shall be in effect for any Signatory until:
1. A Signatory advises HUD and the Board in writing that he no longer wishes to be Signatory;
2. The Signatory is suspended, as provided for in Part I, Paragraph VII of this Agreement; or
3. The expiration date of this Agreement unless renewed by HUD and NAR.
C. During the time that a Signatory is suspended as a party to this Agreement, the Signatory shall be subject to the requirements of the HUD Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Regulations, and shall be required to submit an individual Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan or to execute a Joint HUD-VA Nondiscrimination Certification in connection with any new application for participation in any HUD/FHA assistance or insurance program. In addition, the suspended Signatory shall have 30 days from the date of suspension to submit to HUD an individual Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing plan for each of its current projects for which an individual plan had not previously been submitted.
VI. MEMBER FIRM SUBSCRIBERS
Members who sign this agreement do so on behalf of themselves and their firm.
Since the early 1980s the population has become acutely aware of the increasing number of deaths due to AIDS infections. The education of the public regarding this disease is a continuing effort on the part of both the federal and state government. Medical authorities have concluded that the only means of transmission of the disease is by an exchange of bodily fluid, such as occur during sexual intercourse, in a blood transfusion or during birth. The authorities have concluded that there are no risks of transmitting the disease by other means.
In Reed v. King, CA 3rd 261 the courts have placed a clear obligation upon sellers of real estate to disclose material facts affecting the desirability and the value of a property. The case, though, did not address itself to whether an AIDS-related death of an inhabitant of the property is such a material fact that needs to be disclosed. In order to preempt future unnecessary litigation, the California Legislature adopted in the Civil Code Section 1710. 2 as follows:
17102. Occupant of property afflicted with or who died from AIDS; failure to disclose to transferee; no cause of action; state preemption of AIDS disclosure
(a) No cause of action arises against an owner of real property or his or her agent, or any agent of a transferee of real property, for the failure to disclose to the transferee the occurrence of an occupant's death upon the real property or the manner of death where the death has occurred more than three years prior to the date the transferee offers to purchase, lease, or rent the real property, or that an occupant of that property was afflicted with, or died from, Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type III/Lymphadenopathy-Associated Virus. As used in this section, "agent" includes any person licensed pursuant to Part 1 (commencing with Section 10000) of Division 4 of the Business and Professions Code. As used in this section, "transferee" includes a purchaser, lessee, or renter of real property.
(b) It is the intention of the Legislature to occupy the field of regulation of disclosure related to deaths occurring upon real property and of AIDS situations affecting the transfer of real property or any estate or interest in real property.
(c) This section shall not be construed to alter the law relating to disclosure pertaining to any other physical or mental condition or disease, and this section shall not relieve any owner or agent of any obligation to disclose the physical condition of the premises.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to immunize an owner or his or her agent from making an intentional misrepresentation in response to a direct inquiry from a transferee or a prospective transferee of real property, concerning deaths on the real property.
Civil Code Section 54. 1 requires that individuals with disabilities shall be entitled to full and equal access, as other members of the public, to all housing accommodations offered for rent, lease, or compensation in the state. Such a requirement does not mean that real property owners are under obligation to modify the property to specially accommodate such blind individuals.
A special problem arises where blind persons use so-called guide dogs. Again owners can refuse accepting individuals who use such dogs only if in general also non-handicapped individuals may not have any kind of pet dogs on the property.
The legislation also makes clear, that equal access to housing accommodations may not be denied because the handicapped individual is fully dependent upon the income of his or her spouse, when the spouse is a party to the rental or lease agreement.