Industry News

Web sites not exempt from fair housing

Opinion: Violators should be nailed for online discrimination

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Web site operators and online advertisers should be held no less accountable than their print-world counterparts for illegal discrimination in for-sale and for-rent housing advertisements. The Web may be a more open and innovative platform than print media ever has been, but openness, innovation and even relative novelty are no excuse for failure to comply with federal and state fair housing laws that protect home buyers and renters. Federal law prohibits discrimination against prospective renters or home buyers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, family status or national origin. Many states also have laws on their books that ban discrimination on the basis of the same and other protected classes. Yet illegal discrimination in housing still occurs far too often to be accidental or inadvertent. Take an Inman News survey about housing discrimination. One success story in the fight against housing discrimination has been newspapers' efforts to screen for-sale and f...