Real estate professionals must make sure that their real estate marketing campaigns are implemented in an impartial manner. They must also be in compliance with fair housing laws.
As technology advances and more detailed consumer data is available, real estate professionals—along with their marketing providers—must make sure that their real estate marketing campaigns are implemented in an impartial manner. They must also be in compliance with fair housing laws. Such laws exist at both the Federal and State level. They are meant to prohibit housing discrimination.
At the Federal level, The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home. It protects people when getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status and disability.
Fair Housing In A Tech World
Before online marketing, real estate professionals used more traditional modes of advertising and promotion. This included direct mail, flyers, newspaper ads, billboards, and magazines. Since such marketing generally targeted geographic areas and/or a broad section of a community, they were unlikely to run afoul of fair housing laws. With the advent of online marketing, it has become possible to conduct target advertising towards much more narrow communities. Both advertisers and advertising providers must take care that these targeted advertisements do not discriminate against a protected group.
The recent settlement of a Fair Housing case against the advertising supplier, Meta, shows the risks of advertising suppliers and their advertisers if such concerns are not addressed. In the case, the government accused Meta of providing a platform that allowed for discriminatory advertising by real estate professions based upon race, national origin, sex characteristics and other protected traits. The case has settled. Action has been taken to mitigate the risk of future discriminatory targeting advertising in this particular situation.
Notwithstanding, as technology advances and new and creative marketing avenues become available, real estate professionals and their vendors must remain mindful and diligent in their targeting to avoid future fair housing claims.