SWMLS Rule Change to help you avoid Fair Housing Violations

As part of our commitment to Fair Housing, SWMLS is adding an additional tool to help members stay compliant with Fair Housing. A list of words will be maintained in Data Checker that automatically checks for words that could be potential Fair Housing violations.

The list of words and various combinations will be flagged for your review. This list was created by your SWMLS Policy Committee and Board of Directors, based on best practices of other MLSs that have created similar word lists, but has been tailored to our area.

DOWNLOAD the List of Words

An important note – this is not necessarily a list of “blocked” words and it does not mean that you cannot use these words. Contrary to a popular misconception, there is no official list of banned words maintained by the Federal Government. The guidance from HUD boils down to – describe the property, not the people.

For example, using the word “Asian” to describe a property as having “Asian Styling” is completely acceptable. However, saying a property is in an “Asian neighborhood” or that the area is “Asian-friendly” is not acceptable.

When one of these words is flagged, the Listing Member and their Qualifying Broker will receive an email asking them to double-check their Remarks so they can review and verify they are not in violation of Fair Housing. This will be a courtesy notice only and will not lead to automatic fines if the issue is not corrected. If you have questions about why something was flagged, SWMLS Staff will be happy to help provide perspective.

SWMLS Rules and Regulations Change

Section 1.21 – Fair Housing
Southwest MLS is committed to compliance with all federal, state, and local fair housing laws, and will not be a forum for discrimination against any person based on race, color, religion, gender (sex), disability (handicap), familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity. In all listings, members are required to describe the property not the people. Members will be notified when words are identified that could be potential violations of Fair Housing laws, advising participants and subscribers to remove or correct potential violations.