Proposed legislation in California targets biases in housing

Real estate matters are highly complex. And considering the fact that there can be hundreds of thousands of dollars and businesses on the line, navigating even the most straightforward transaction can be complicated. 

Buying or leasing property can get even more complex when parties face discrimination or biases from owners and real estate professionals. However, a proposed bill aims to tackle this serious issue.

Correcting biases

The bill would require real estate brokers and salespeople to complete additional training to meet their continuing education requirements. 

Currently, real estate licensees must already participate in 45 hours of ongoing training to renew their licenses. This training includes a three-hour course on fair housing an eight-hour update survey course. 

The proposed litigation increases the update survey course from eight to nine hours, and the fair housing course would include an interactive, participatory component. The bill also requires the training to address implicit bias.

These measures aim to better educate real estate professionals in areas like unconscious biased attitudes, explicit biases and biases in the housing system.

Addressing unfair biases in individual transactions

Whether the bill passes remains to be seen. If it does, it will be interesting to see if it positively impacts discrimination in real estate transactions. 

In the meantime, any instance of discrimination can trigger contentious legal disputes. Such events might include treating someone unfairly when it comes to renting, buying and selling property. It can also mean negotiating differently with people of a specific race, gender, age, cultural background or religion, or holding members of a protected class to more stringent requirements.

Real estate professionals and individuals alike should know what discrimination can look like and how it affects people. Commercial and residential real estate transactions are complicated enough without biases creating challenges and possibly triggering a lawsuit. 

To avoid these issues, parties can work with legal support to ensure negotiations and agreements are fair and lawful.