Industry News

Internet real estate sites accused of discrimination

Fair housing agency sues over online advertising
Published on Mar 24, 2004

A fair housing organization in Boston has brought a lawsuit that accuses several local real estate companies of illegal discrimination in advertising on their Web sites. The Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston said advertisements that used such wording as "professionals only," "no undergrads please!" and "no security deposit required with good credit and stable employment" violated federal and state laws that protect people against discrimination in housing, according to news reports. Federal laws prohibit discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, family status, or national origin. Housing-related advertising that discriminates against prospective renters or home buyers on the basis of those protected classes would be illegal. The lawsuit is eye-catching because its allegations of housing discrimination involve online, rather than newsprint rental advertisements. Newspapers generally screen advertisements for potential problems while a lawsu...

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