ADA, Fair Housing, and Accessibility Compliance

Updated Saturday, December 03, 2022

As a real estate professional, you may be aware of legal demand letters related to federal and state Fair Housing laws that have been sent to agents and brokers in multiple states. The letters claim that certain websites were not fully accessible using screen-reading software. The letters also claim that some individuals were denied equal services to real estate.

Take a moment to click the link below, and read a letter from NAR about this issue:

https://files.constantcontact.com/5d2c4c3b401/cc5f5672-ddb5-47f4-985d-c62ad260df76.pdf

Regarding ADA compliance and website accessibility, also see this update from NAR.

The AgentWebsite position mirrors the NAR position as stated in the letter linked above.

Your Website

AgentWebsite is committed to website accessibility. We fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act and federal, state, and Local Fair Housing and Anti-discrimination laws which protect people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities. 

AgentWebsite is not an attorney. This is not legal advice. Contact a qualified attorney for legal advice.

If legal assistance is required, users should seek the services of an attorney.

Nothing on the AgentWebsite website, platform, services, or software, nor any portion thereof constitutes actual legal or regulatory advice, opinion, or recommendation by AgentWebsite.

We continuously improve our products with accessibility improvements for disabled users. We use WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines.

The US Justice Department has issued Web Accessibility Guidance Under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

At the bottom of your website, you will find links to the following pages:

  • Accessibility Statement - Based on the NAR accessibility statement, as recommended by NAR.
  • Fair Housing Notice & Statement
  • Accessibility Widget - Enables disabled users to modify your website to accommodate their disability. The widget looks like this:

    To manage the Accessibility Widget on your website, open the AgentWebsite Control Panel, click Advanced, then click Accessibility.

Go to your website and familiarize yourself with the pages listed above. 

Do you have a suggestion for an improvement? Let us know!

Understand The Risks

According to the California Association of Realtors: "You probably can’t make your site 100% accessible to every person with any impairment, because there can be so many different needs. But you can reach more potential clients and serve more people by taking many reasonably available steps towards making your website accessible, and by being open to requests and suggestions to help others with different needs." [1]

Every website is unique, and real estate websites are not static.

You should be aware that it may be possible to find content or an element on your website - or any website - which is not in compliance with a guideline of some type. Regarding compliance, there is the non-trivial question of what guidelines one is attempting to comply with. Further, there is the issue of false positives. (See the NAR letter linked above.) For these reasons, our approach is to make best efforts to make our customer websites as compliant with federal, state, and local laws, and as accessible, as possible. And we are open to suggestions.

There is nothing that AgentWebsite can do to prevent a person or organization from sending a demand letter or filing a lawsuit. Unfortunately, the only way to prevent legal action related to having a website is to not have a website. This is our opinion. We are not attorneys, and this is not legal advice. See the AgentWebsite Terms of Use.

 

Consider Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Third-party Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) may help defray the cost of lawsuits and judgments brought against your business by customers (or other third parties) claiming discriminatory or harassing behavior. Consult with your with your E&O or business insurance provider to learn more.

 

1. https://www.car.org/-/media/CAR/Documents/Transaction-Center/PDF/QUICK-GUIDES/Quick-Guide---Website-Accessibility.pdf

 

 


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