ADVERTISING RESTRICTIONS for owners of Real Estate!
Did you know, that real estate advertising by owners or their agent is highly regulated and restrictive? Yes, it is, by law. Did you know that the Federal Government has issued a “red letter” list of words we cannot use in any advertising? Yes, it is true.
Acceptable terms and phrases may seem arbitrary to you, but as a housing advertiser, you’d better know which ones can spark a complaint by consumers because many words aren’t no-no’s until they offend someone, and then it’s too late.
So if you’ve ever wondered whether it’s acceptable to call the biggest bedroom in the house the “master,” or to call a third-floor apartment a “walk-up,” or to call a gated community “exclusive,” then this article is for you.
According to the Guidance Regarding Advertisements Under 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, Section 804(c) of the Act “prohibits the making, printing and publishing of advertisements which state a preference, limitation or discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. The prohibition applies to publishers, such as newspapers and directories,” continues Section 804(c) as well as to persons and entities who place real estate advertisements. It also applies to advertisements where the underlying property may be exempt from the provisions of the Act, but where the advertisement itself violates the Act. See 42 U.S.C. 3603 (b).
Words we can not use in Real Estate Advertisements
Bachelor Apartment, Pad, etc.
Child, One OK, Two OK, etc
Church(es), Close to/Near
Employed, Must Be
First Time Buyers (use with caution)
Handyman’s Special (use “fixer-upper”)
His and Hers
Living Alone, Capable of
Neighborhood, Description of ( i.e. Family Neighborhood)
One Child (or any number)
One Person (or any number)
Parish, Close to/near
Parish, name of
Person(s), number of (any number)
Play area, no
Private (can use but with caution)
Quiet (quiet street ok, not dwelling or describing occupants)
Rent Calculated Per Person
Section 8, no
Section 8, OK
Section 8, welcome
Secure (use: “security system,” etc)
SSD (Social Security Dis.)., No
SSI (Social Security Ins.), No
Suitable for ___person(s) (any number)
Walk to OR Walking distance to (you may use “close to” or “close by”)
Working, must be
Senior Housing, or other housing for ANY protected class, must have written approval of their exemptions and affirmative marketing plan from HUD and a copy of such documents must be provided to the PressRepublican upon request.
A number of occupants can be specified for student housing. Instances where there are shared living space, you may use specify a preference for “Male” or “Female” roommate. The Fair Housing Act recognizes the right to privacy in those instances.