What should I consider before running ads with human models?

Education & Training with 123 ConEd LLC -- Michigan real estate continuing education School Sponsor 373

Fair Housing

Fair housing laws apply to all types of advertising and marketing used in home sales and purchases, including ads in newspapers, on the radio, in magazines, on the Internet, on television, on flyers, even in comments for a listing in the Multiple Listing Service.  But what should you consider before running ads with human models?

Selective advertising may involve an advertising campaign using human models primarily in media that cater to one racial or national origin segment of the population without a complementary advertising campaign that is directed at other groups. Another example may involve use of racially mixed models by a developer to advertise one development and not others. Similar care must be exercised in advertising in publications or other media directed at one particular sex, or at persons without children. Such selective advertising may involve the use of human models of members of only one sex, or of adults only, in displays, photographs or drawings to indicate preferences for one sex or the other, or for adults to the exclusion of children.

Avoid using pictures or images that show preference or discourage people because of their protected class. If you use advertising with photographs or drawings of people, try to show men, women, children, people with disabilities, and people of all races, nationalities and ages in a way that reflects the population as a whole. A series of newspaper ads run over a period of weeks using only white models could be found to be a violation of fair housing laws.


To learn more about Fair Housing issues (and many other topics affecting Michigan real estate professionals), please visit us at www.123ConEd.com. 123 ConEd LLC (www.123ConEd.com) is a leading online provider of continuing education courses to real estate professionals in Michigan. Our online Michigan real estate con ed courses are fully approved and properly certified by the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth. All of our courses are designed to offer our students the most information, as quickly and economically as possible.

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Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

I had NEVER given this any thought... because I don't use models or advertise communities.  An agent I know in CT who used to be an agent in California (I can spell that state)  who is a member on ActiveRain  mentioned it in the comments on a post once...

Mar 07, 2009 02:59 AM #1
Jason Rose
123 ConEd LLC -- Michigan real estate continuing education - Farmington Hills, MI

Maureen:  Thanks for your comment.  I don't think that you're alone in never having thought about this issue before.  Most agents probably don't use human models in their day-to-day work, so this issue would not normally come up.  Although this probably doesn't come up all that much for the average agent, I thought the topic was illustrative of how many things need to be thought about with respect to fair housing laws before doing any real estate-related advertising.

Mar 07, 2009 03:47 AM #2
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