Selling a home on the Western Slope of Colorado comes with various responsibilities, including compliance with fair housing laws. These laws are designed to protect individuals from discrimination and ensure equal opportunities in housing. As a home seller, it’s crucial to understand the protected classes in Colorado, treat all individuals equally, and avoid using discriminatory language in advertising and conversations. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with essential tips to navigate fair housing laws and prevent potential legal issues. Let’s get started!
Protected Classes in Colorado:
Colorado law prohibits discrimination based on the following protected classes:
- National Origin
- Familial Status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under 18)
- Disability (both physical and mental)
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
Tips for Treating People Equally:
To ensure compliance with fair housing laws and treat all individuals fairly, consider the following tips:
- Educate yourself: Familiarize yourself with fair housing laws and regulations applicable in Colorado. Stay up to date with any changes or updates to these laws.
- Treat everyone equally: Avoid any form of discrimination and treat all prospective buyers equally, regardless of their background or characteristics.
- Provide consistent information: Offer consistent information about the property, its features, availability, and terms to all potential buyers.
- Fair advertising practices: Craft your advertisements to be inclusive and avoid language that could be perceived as discriminatory. Use images that represent diverse communities.
- Accommodate disabilities: Make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities to ensure equal access to the property and related services.
- Fair pricing and negotiations: Set fair prices for your property and negotiate in good faith with all potential buyers.
Words and Phrases to Avoid in Advertising and Conversations:
When advertising your property or engaging in conversations with potential buyers, refrain from using language that can be considered discriminatory. Here are some examples to avoid:
- Exclusive terms: Avoid words like “exclusive,” “restricted,” or “preferred” that may imply certain individuals are excluded.
- Familial status: Do not mention any preferences regarding families with or without children. Religious preferences: Refrain from stating any religious preferences or restrictions.
- Gender-based language: Avoid using gender-specific terms, such as “ideal for a bachelor” or “perfect for a single lady.”
- Age limitations: Do not mention age preferences or restrictions, unless they are related to housing for seniors as permitted by law.
Penalties for Violating Fair Housing Laws:
Violating fair housing laws can lead to serious consequences. Penalties may include:
- Complaint investigation: Complaints can be filed with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They will investigate the allegations and take appropriate action.
- Civil lawsuits: Violations can result in costly civil lawsuits, where plaintiffs may seek damages and injunctive relief.
- Fines and penalties: Sellers found guilty of fair housing violations may be subject to fines, penalties, or other monetary damages.
- Legal Costs: Violators may be responsible for covering the legal costs incurred during complaint investigations or civil lawsuits.
- Reputation damage: A violation of fair housing laws can tarnish your reputation and have long-lasting negative effects on your business.