When becoming a real estate agent in Florida, it's important to know all about the Fair Housing regulations. If you aren't sure what they are or how they apply to you, read on. We'll help you understand why these laws are so important. With this knowledge, you'll be equipped to help each of your clients in the Sunshine State while preventing legal problems.
What Are the Fair Housing Laws in Florida?
Similar to the federal act, the Fair Housing laws in Florida are in place to ensure that people can find homes to buy or rent without facing any discrimination based on color, disability, familial status, national origin, race, sex, or religion (Florida, Fla. Stat. §§ 760.20-760.60). As a real estate agent, you may think, "I would never discriminate based on any of those factors." But in some cases, it may be done accidentally without ill intent. Being so, it's important to not only be aware of the Fair Housing laws but to explore examples of violates them in practice.
What Are Examples of Fair Housing Act Violations in Florida?
So you can learn more about Fair Housing regulations and what not to do, here are a few examples of situations that are considered discrimination under the law:
If you have a client who is of a particular race, you cannot recommend neighborhoods based on their race. For example, if your client, Rebecca, is an Asian woman, you can not say you think she'd love a particular community where there are many "people like her" and take her to a community where many Asians live. This would be discriminating based on race.
Familial Status Discrimination
If you have a new property that is a small home in a downtown area that you think would be great for a young couple or empty nesters, you can't market it as such or express that to clients. By stating it would be great for a family type without children, you are discriminating against potential buyers with children (familial status).
When describing a property, you can't say that it's not accessible for people who are handicapped. You also can't say it's only a good fit for people who are active and healthy. This would be discriminating against someone with a disability.
When you know the religion of a client, you can't recommend or market a house as a good fit because it's a part of a community of people who share the same religion. This would discriminate against buyers who do not share in that religion.
When showing properties, you can't avoid certain listings because you don't think they'd be a good fit based on a person's gender. For example, if a home is in an area with a higher crime rate, you can't only show it to male buyers because you think it's a better fit for males. Further, if a home has a more feminine design, you can't deny males access to it based on their gender.
These are just a few scenarios that can help to illustrate the Florida Fair Housing laws in action.
Start Practicing Real Estate in Florida
When becoming a real estate agent in Florida, you'll learn more about the Fair Housing regulations during your pre-license education. It's important to take time to understand these laws and how to follow them when helping your clients find their dream homes. The bottom line is, you don't want to make any assumptions. Treat all clients equally without directing them a certain way based on any of the seven factors (color, disability, familial status, national origin, race, sex, or religion). In doing so, you won't have to worry about investigations. Plus, your buyers will be able to trust that you will show them all the options available in their price range.
Ready to start the process to get your real estate license? Take our pre-licensing course online at your convenience!