Welcome to Ask an Agent. If you have any real estate questions you want answered, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll feature your answer on an upcoming blog post.
Question: Why can’t my agent tell me certain information about a home for sale, specifically about the current owners and neighborhood?
Answer: As a homebuyer, you want to be fully prepared that you’re settling into the right home for you. But questions such as, “Is this place family friendly,” and “Are there a lot of young singles in this area,” are a problem for real estate agents. Because of the Fair Housing Act, adopted in 1968, agents are unable to answer questions that could lead to discrimination against a protected class. Some of these protected classes include race, religion, sex, disability and sexual orientation, but it also includes familial status, citizenship and occupation. Overall, the Fair Housing Act was created to help all Americans find the perfect home.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), it is illegal to take any of the following actions based on any of the protected classes:
- Refuse to rent or sell housing.
- Refuse to negotiate for housing.
- Make housing unavailable.
- Deny a dwelling.
- Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling.
- Provide different housing services or facilities.
- Falsley deny that housing is available for inspection, rental or sale.
Some questions that could get a real estate professional in trouble:
- What kinds of people live in the neighborhood/building?
- Do a lot of families live here?
- What are the best neighborhoods to live in?
Every Shorewest employee receives training on the Fair Housing Act — from real estate agents to corporate employees in accounting and IT, upholding the Fair Housing Act is a huge priority for Shorewest. If you have further questions about what you can ask your real estate agent, email us at email@example.com or talk to your local Shorewest Office.