Members will be required to complete two hours of fair housing training every three years beginning in 2025 following a vote Thursday by the National Association of Realtors’ board of directors.

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The nation’s 1.5 million Realtors will be required to complete two hours of fair housing training every three years starting in 2025 after the board of directors of the National Association of Realtors approved the requirement Thursday morning.

The trade group’s Membership Policy and Board Jurisdiction Committee, which oversees NAR membership requirements, put forward the fair housing training proposal at the board’s meeting on the last day of NAR’s midyear conference, the Realtors Legislative Meetings, in Washington, D.C.

“It’s a great day for fair housing,” Rick Reilly, the committee’s chair, declared after the board voted 785-50 in favor of the proposal. The proposal did not prompt any discussion on the floor.

Currently, the only training NAR requires of its members is a 2.5-hour Realtor Code of Ethics training every three years. The new fair housing training requirement will coincide with that ethics training schedule and go into effect more than five years after a groundbreaking 2019 Newsday investigation shook the industry with findings of widespread discriminatory real estate practices among Long Island brokerages.

The proposal was put forward by a workgroup on fair housing education that the Membership Policy and Board Jurisdiction Committee appointed last year to review a recommendation from the Fair Housing Policy Committee to consider whether Realtors should be required to complete regular fair housing training as a condition of membership.

NAR’s Association Executives Committee, Professional Development Committee, Fair Housing Policy Committee and Diversity Committee each approved formal motions of support for the requirement before Thursday’s board vote.

“As stewards of the right to own, use, and transfer private property, Realtors recognize that offering equal professional services to all is a quintessential part of our commitment to a higher ethical standard,” the membership policy committee stated in materials provided to the board of directors before the vote.

“This requirement will affirm NAR’s emphasis on training in the Fair Housing ACT Plan and guarantee that all Realtor members receive substantive fair housing training, tracked centrally in NAR’s M1 [member engagement] database.”

NAR debuted its implicit bias certificate course, Bias Override, a year ago, on top of its Fairhaven fair housing training launched in 2020. Both are currently voluntary.

Bias Override and another NAR course, At Home With Diversity, will both be options to satisfy the new requirement. The board also approved another proposal from the membership policy committee to update Fairhaven to become the free option NAR offers members to fulfill the new requirement.

The new policy states:

That NAR require two (2) hours of fair housing training for new member applicants, and on a recurring basis for existing members every three (3) years, coinciding with the Code of Ethics training cycle and beginning in 2025, as a condition of Realtor membership, including one training option that is of no cost to members. Courses satisfying the requirement are:

a. NAR’s Bias Override training

b. NAR’s At Home With Diversity training

c. Equivalent courses provided by state and local associations, the Institutes, Societies and Councils, or their partnered providers, with terms of equivalency credit as detailed in Exhibit 1

d. Fair housing courses approved by state licensing authorities for an existing state fair housing requirement that meet the terms of equivalency as detailed in Exhibit 1

e. A to-be-created non-residential practice course focused on bias and anti-discrimination training.

The new policy will be effective January 1, 2025, through December 31, 2027, and for successive three-year periods thereafter.

“Failure to meet the requirement in any three-year cycle will result in suspension of membership for the first two months (January and February) of the year following the end of any three-year cycle or until the requirement is met, whichever occurs sooner,” the policy continues.

“On March 1 of that year, the membership of a member who is still suspended as of that date will be automatically terminated.”

In an exhibit to the proposal, the membership policy committee listed the learning objectives that courses must satisfy in order to meet the requirement’s criteria:

Upon completion of the fair housing training, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand why fair housing laws were necessary by learning about the history of housing discrimination and its lasting impact
  2. Identify the laws that make housing discrimination illegal and the actions prohibited and required by these laws in the business of real estate
  3. Know the personal characteristics that federal law protects from discrimination in housing, including race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status and disability
  4. Distinguish state and local government protections that may exceed federal protections
  5. Explain what steering is and discuss strategies to avoid it
  6. Describe what reasonable accommodations and modifications for people with disabilities may be required by fair housing laws
  7. Describe the best practices in fair housing marketing
  8. Identify what resources are available to provide fair housing information and assistance to clients
  9. Recognize the danger in making assumptions based on stereotypes and the importance of allowing consumers to choose which communities/neighborhoods they want to live in
  10. Utilize interventions to interrupt implicit bias so that consumers are treated with equal concern, respect and fairness

Greg Kiely, chair of the workgroup that came up with the proposal, said earlier in the week that the workgroup had considered whether to make fair housing training voluntary, but ultimately decided against that idea.

Greg Kiely

“The workgroup feels this is a necessary and reasonable requirement of NAR,” Kiely said.

“The workgroup did consider whether highly incentivizing voluntary training would be a preferable option, but ultimately we concluded that, absent a requirement, the members that would most benefit from fair housing training would arguably be the least likely to attend a voluntary training.”

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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NAR | realtors
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