BOSTON (November 3, 2018) – Saturday, at the 2018 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Boston, Massachusetts, the National Association of Realtors® hosted its forum highlighting compliance and understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. The forum, officially titled “Smart AND Sensitive? You, Technology & the Law,” was hosted by Trista Curzydlo, managing member of C4 Consult LLC in Basehor, Kansas.
Curzydlo focused on helping Realtors® ensure their online presence and comprehensive business practices are compliant with both the ADA and FHA. The discussion ranged from intuitive components like physical assurances of disability accommodations in broker offices, to more complex issues like ensuring websites have been tailored to ensure those with disabilities are able to view properties for sale online.
“Fair Housing is integral to the ethical commitment of our members, as outlined in the Realtor® Code of Ethics. While Realtors® continue to work to ensure affordable and sustainable housing opportunities are available for Americans in every corner of this country, we must also commit ourselves to ensuring that all Americans, regardless of any physical or mental disability, have access to all services offered by Realtors®,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty.
While technology has changed the way consumers experience home buying and selling in a generally positive manner, technology used incorrectly has the potential to leave a portion of the population neglected. Because of that, it is vital for Realtors® to understand how application of the ADA and the Fair Housing Act through advertising, websites, apps and smart home technology will affect their businesses.
“With each passing day, technology becomes more integral to Realtor® business activities and to our members’ abilities to succeed in the market. However, with that change, and all the potential benefits that come with it, it is critical that Realtors® are up to date and knowledgeable about approaches that ensure technology is applied in a manner that includes – rather than excludes – all populations of Americans,” Mendenhall continued.
The ADA, which was signed into law in 1990, makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with disabilities. The law has five sections or "titles" which apply to employment, public services, public accommodations, services operated by private entities, and telecommunications. Title I affects real estate offices and Association offices if they have the threshold number of employees. Title III affects Association offices, real estate offices, and commercial facilities.
The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.