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A WORDY LIST

December 5th, 2007 1:11 PM by Ron Mastrodonato

A WORDY LIST

In an effort to comply with fair-housing laws and avoid litigation, Realtor.com has an extensive list of words that cannot be used in property listings posted on the site. These include nationalities, religions, profanity and ethnic slurs as well as “tenant,” “children,” “suitable for” and “disabled.” Agents keying in a listing at Realtor.com are greeted with a pop-up box letting them know that a word they entered is prohibited, but agents whose listings are pulled automatically from the MLS have no idea why the site did not post a particular listing. The list of taboo words provides evidence that real estate professionals increasingly are concerned about unintentionally using discriminatory terms in their marketing materials, with some agents avoiding the phrase “within walking distance,” for instance, so that they are not said to be showing bias against wheelchair-bound individuals. However, HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity deputy enforcement assistant Bryan Green notes, “When we get a complaint, we look at the context and the totality of facts. It’s fair to say that HUD isn’t engaged in a ‘gotcha’ game over the use of (certain) words.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle (11/23/07) Lloyd, Carol
© Copyright 2007 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688
Posted in:General
Posted by Ron Mastrodonato on December 5th, 2007 1:11 PM

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