Avoid Biased Words, Practitioners Urged

April 22, 2010

Source: Watertown, New York, Daily Times, Nancy Madsen

Equal opportunity specialists in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are offering real estate professionals advice on how to avoid inadvertent discrimination.

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to refuse to rent, sell, or finance a residence based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or number of children. Today, 42 years later, casual wording that can unintentionally motivate buyers away from or toward a property can sometimes have the impact of bias.

According to Andrea A. Mujahid-Moore, who works out of HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in Buffalo, N.Y., avoiding potentially offensive language in advertising is critical. She also says practitioners must take care not to point clients to or from particular properties. That means, Mujahid-Moore explains, demurring from clients' queries about local schools, the community, and neighbors.

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