The Difference Between Federal Fair Housing - Realtor® Code of Ethics

Real Estate Agent SL3287291


Home Sellers, Landlords and Real Estate Agents should be aware of the Federal Fair Housing Act and what is covered in the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Code of Ethics.


The Fair Housing Act has been around for some time. It was passed in 1968 and for the protection of the following classes:

Race-Color-National Origin-Religion-Sex-Familial Status-Disability.

What this means for home sellers, landlords and real estate agents is they may not refuse housing to people based on any of those 7 classes.

A real estate agent may not be part of a transaction that discriminates based on the 7 protected classes.

In Florida recently, the Legislature took up discussion of a law that would add 2 classes to the list: sexual orientation and gender identity. They were not successful in passing this bill.

BUT,did you know that the NAR Code of Ethics exceeds even the Federal guidelines?

In 2011, the NAR added Sexual Orientation as a protected class in their Code Of Ethics. 

In 2013, the NAR added Gender Identity as a protected class in their Code of Ethics.

If a real estate agent in a member of NAR (1,150,141 members to date) they are designated as REALTORS® and are to conduct business in accordance with the Code of Ethics.

This means that if a home seller or landlord wants the services of a REALTOR® but has decided to withhold the property from any of the 9 protected class as stated by NAR, the agent must walk away from that transaction.

Knowing the difference between protected classes in the Federal Fair Housing Act and the NAR Code of Ethics is extremely important for REALTORS® to know and follow.



Comments (6)

Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

John - It is important to understand the law and code of ethics.  When you follow them you stay out of trouble and build better relationships.

Mar 28, 2016 01:40 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Grant Schneider I agree that we need to keep current on laws and code of ethics. It will help keep us on the right path.

Thanks for your comment.

Mar 28, 2016 01:44 AM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi John, great reminder for all of us to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing!

Mar 28, 2016 02:13 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Beth Atalay thanks for reading and commenting. I know I encounter agents that are not aware of the difference that the Code of Ethics adds.

Mar 28, 2016 04:39 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

As for me...if you want to buy, sell or lease any property I am doing it! Does a hotdog vendor care who buys his franks?

Apr 20, 2016 06:57 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

John- good reminder for everyone and I love Gary's comment. 

Apr 28, 2016 12:06 PM