Miami Realtors
Advocacy

URGENT LEGAL ALERT: Changes in Fair Housing Laws in South Florida Impacts our MLS

FROM FLORIDA REALTORS GENERAL COUNSEL

Recently, Florida Realtors became aware of several lawsuits filed against real estate brokers in Miami Dade and Broward counties concerning allegations of discriminatory advertising—a violation of fair housing laws. Specifically, brokers are being sued for discriminating against tenants with Section 8 vouchers. These violations, however, pertain to local ordinances, not the Federal Fair Housing Act. Under these local ordinances, landlords and Realtors are precluded from discriminating against tenants with Section 8 vouchers, as this falls under the protected class “source of income.”

Florida Realtors General Counsel Margy Grant advises that “Realtors are encouraged to audit their listings and advertising to ensure that no listing, either in the MLS or not, contains any language that disallows housing to someone with a Section 8 voucher. Realtors must work to educate their landlords or property managers that this is not permissible under the local ordinances.” Additional details follow:

Realtors in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties should be aware that their county’s Fair Housing protected classes extend beyond those created under federal law. The federal Fair Housing Act protects against discrimination based on the following seven categories:

  • Race,
  • Color,
  • Religion,
  • National origin,
  • Sex,
  • Disability, and
  • Familial status.

Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County’s ordinances include the seven listed above. The following categories have been added to local ordinances located in Chapter 11A Discrimination, which includes specific rules on housing in Article II CLICK HERE

  • Ancestry,
  • Pregnancy,
  • Age,
  • Marital status,
  • Gender identity,
  • Gender expression,
  • Sexual orientation,
  • Source of income, (SECTION 8 VOUCHERS)
  • Actual or perceived status as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.

Exemptions:
Please note that Chapter 11A contains exemptions to these rules which are similar to the federal fair housing laws, as well as exemptions regarding housing for older persons and communities restricted as 55 and over.


Broward County

Broward County’s ordinances include the seven listed above. The following categories have been added to a local ordinance located in Section 16½-2 of the Broward County Code of Ordinances CLICK HERE

  • Age,
  • Marital status,
  • Political affiliation,
  • Sexual orientation,
  • Pregnancy,
  • Gender identity or expression,
  • Veteran or service member status,
  • Lawful source of income, (SECTION 8 VOUCHERS)
  • Victims of dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking.

Exemptions:
Please note that Section 16½-35.5 contains exemptions to these rules which are similar to the federal fair housing laws, as well as exemptions regarding housing for older persons and communities restricted as 55 and over.

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