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Code of Ethics Case Studies

Case #10-5: Use of "Choose Your Neighbor"
Form Letters as Part of a Marketing Campaign

(Revised May 2017)

The ABC Association of REALTOR® A received a complaint from a local fair housing group alleging that REALTOR® A was using discriminatory marketing techniques, in violation of Article 10 of the Code of Ethics, as the listing broker for a property in a new subdivision.

In support of their complaint, the fair housing group provided copies of "Choose Your Neighbor" form letters sent by REALTOR® A to current neighborhood residents. The letters announced that the property was on the market and invited neighborhood residents to contact REALTOR® A if they knew of anyone who they thought might be interested in purchasing the home.

At the hearing, REALTOR® A defended his use of "Choose Your Neighbor" form letters by demonstrating that they were just one element of his marketing campaign, and were not an attempt to restrict access to the property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, country of national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity, as prohibited by Article 10. REALTOR® A produced copies of banner advertisements run on several websites, "OPEN HOUSE" information provided on Realtor.com, and a copy of the property's MLS listing. REALTOR® A remarked, "In my experience, the current residents of a neighborhood often have friends or relatives who have said that they would love to live in the neighborhood. It just makes sense to me to include contacting these folks in any marketing campaign!"

What do you think the hearing panel concluded? Show Answer

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