REALTORS® have been prohibited from housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity since 2010 and 2013, respectively. Until recently, though, such discrimination was not illegal under federal law, except in HUD-assisted housing.
In February, HUD announced it will fully enforce fair housing protections for sexual orientation and gender identity as part of the protected class of sex. The new interpretation, which went into effect immediately, covers the vast majority of U.S. housing transactions, including market-rate and affordable housing.
This new interpretation of the Fair Housing Act comes from the Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in Bostock vs. Clayton County. HUD also cited President Biden’s Executive Order 13988 on preventing and combating discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- The Fair Housing Act still contains seven protected classes: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. The protections for sexual orientation and gender identity are being enforced under the existing protected class
- The REALTOR® Code of Ethics also includes protections for sexual orientation and gender identity with regard to a REALTOR®’s employment practices and cooperation with other brokers.
- As of November 2020, the Code also includes a provision barring hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
- Fair housing laws protect people from discrimination not only when renting or buying a home but also when getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities.