There are few things that motivate me more in real estate than improving the community and representing those who are working every day to make a living. The title of this blog may be throwing you off. Why $16,000? What does that even mean? Let me give you a little background…
Community Data Gathering
So this all started with the realization that new jobs demands sufficient housing in a community. New and improved housing demands available jobs within a community. Catch 22, am I right? So this small town right near me found itself in this exact situation.
The National Association of REALTORS® stepped in and awarded a grant that would allow this association, myself and other REALTORS® to put together the necessary information as to how the long-term outlook of this community could be successful. We got this!
Our Shining Student
We figured that a great way to conduct the research would be to have our local college spearhead the data collection. What better way to grow and involve the community than the young minds who want to directly impact the community?
One particular student felt a special calling to this initiative. This young man decided that he wanted to go live in the town in question to be a catalyst for change in this community. The problem? The landlord rejected his application. Really?
Fair Housing Violations
This young man was rejected for reasons unknown. Now, we have some theories on this. Most notably, the history of the housing in question points to possible discrimination. This is a MAJOR violation. I am a landlord, y’all! You show me a young student who is hungry to impact the community in a positive way and is committed to their education, and I’ll show you the signed lease!
Here is where the figure comes in. The fine for the first Fair Housing Violation is $16,000! If you get a second fine, that number jumps up to $65,000. If the Justice Department has to get involved, we are talking over $100,000. That is some serious change.
So the $16,000 question is simple. Is it worth $16,000 to unfairly treat members of our community? Of course, it isn’t! As REALTORS®, it is our job to ensure this doesn’t happen. Whether we are, ourselves, the landlord who is responsible for fair and just housing practices, or we are tasked with advocating for community members who are facing unfair treatment.
This is what REALTOR® advocacy is all about. If we don’t step in to answer the $16,000 question for our citizens, then who will? I don’t want to lose any more exciting young people who have a heart for making our communities better for the long haul because frankly, that’s the kind of neighbors I want.