This year, we’ve been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Association of Realtors®’ Code of Ethics and this milestone was recently recognized during the national convention in San Francisco.I’ve always thought of the Code of Ethics as a living, changing document as it spells out our professional responsibilities to our clients, fellow Realtors® and the general public. It’s been amended 37 times in its 100 years as it continues to strive to protect sellers, buyers, landlords, tenants and others who work with Realtors®.
During the convention, NAR’s Board of Directors voted to amend Article 10 of the Code of Ethics to prohibit discrimination against consumers and potential employees based on gender identity. This follows the resolution which added sexual orientation to Article 10 in 2011. These changes are examples of how our Code defines the principles of the real estate transaction. NAR also approved amending the Statement of Policy on Fair Housing, affirming that the right to rent or purchase shelter of choice should not be abridged because of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Article 10 used to mirror the “protected classes” in various federal civil rights laws. But some states and municipalities, including more than 30 municipalities in Pennsylvania, have established protections beyond those in federal law, including protections for gender identity or transgender individuals. NAR’s code goes beyond federal law in declaring that Realtors® may not use business or employment practices to discriminate against individuals who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
As you know, not all real estate licensees are Realtors®. Our NAR membership separates us from other real estate agents who don’t subscribe to a code of ethics or have access to the educational, business and market information advantages that we, as Realtors®, have.
One of the most important and largest decisions in a consumer’s life is buying a property. We want to ensure that every consumer is treated fairly, is protected and his or her best interests are considered throughout the process. Our Code of Ethics promises consumers that we will do just that.