April marks Fair Housing Month, when Realtors, real estate professionals who are members of the national, state and local association of Realtors and subscribe to a strict code of ethics, recommit themselves to continuing fair and equitable treatment for everyone in search of a home.
“Realtors live by the code of ethics, which means we work hard to ensure that the real estate market is fair for everyone,” said Reading-Berks Association of Realtors President Jason Burkholder. “It’s more than just words, we also step up, we speak up, and not only will we never tolerate discrimination, we will actively seek to fight against it in all forms.”
Enacted in April 1968, the federal Fair Housing Act protects the rights of those searching to rent or buy a home by banning discrimination in housing-related transactions based on seven protected classes: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and familial status.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act protects against housing discrimination in the commonwealth and includes two additional protected classes: age (over 40) and users, handlers or trainers of assistance animals for persons with disabilities.
“While we know there has been a lot of progress made in the last 54 years, there is still much work to be done,” Burkholder said. “Laws matter, but people matter more, and as Realtors, we know that fairness is worth fighting for.”
As Realtors, committed to following the code of ethics and ensuring fair housing for every person, Reading-Berks Association of Realtors members are committed to strengthening our diverse communities, eliminating discrimination, and promoting access to housing for all.
“As chairperson for the Diversity and Development Committee, I enjoy learning about the different cultures, and I would hope that we all take a few minutes to learn and appreciate the diversity in our community,” said Sharon Kehres, chairwoman of R-BAR’s Diversity and Development Committee and broker with Daryl Tillman Realty Group.
If consumers believe they have experienced a fair housing issue, they should contact the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission at phrc.pa.gov.