Industry News

HUD studies Web sites’ role in fair housing compliance uses automated system to scan for possible violations

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is reviewing complaints of Internet-based real estate postings that may violate the federal Fair Housing Act. While there are established cases in which newspapers have been found liable for printing ads that are deemed in violation of the federal act, the department is treading in new territory as it considers the wide range of Web sites that carry real estate information. Some Web sites are passive forums that allow users to post real estate information, for example, while other sites may play a more direct role in preparing and publishing the listings information online. "We need to look at the actual nature of the Web site," said Bryan Greene, director of the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Office at the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. "It is a relatively new area. The Web site is a very broad category of publication. We have gotten complaints against a range of Web-page publications." The federal act states t...