CASE STUDY: LOVE LETTERS, DON’T USE THEM! 11/5/2020: Teamxglassman
QUESTION: Good morning. There has been some talk about cover letters attached to offers to purchase may be a Fair Housing violation with the risk of a $16K fine. For many years I have used cover letters and photos of my clients to strengthen their offer.I certainly do not point out their color, race, sexual orientation but the seller would be able to figure that information out based on names, buyer info and photo.
How can I continue to do cover letters and position my buyer’s offers and not violate fair housing? Or, is this really a non-issue of which I shouldn’t be concerned.
ANSWER: Hi X, following is a screenshot from NAR, "Hot Topics in Broker Risk Reduction" which you can also find at the following link:
This comes up from time to time and in an effort to reduce liability for both agents and HomeSmart by both managing and reducing risk, our position mirrors that of NAR, that agents should refrain from using cover letters, and specifically photos.
As innocent as they may seem, so many things can be interpreted in a negative way or imply that someone acted in some way due to some component of fair housing.
It can be a "slippery slope" and we don't want our agents to be caught up in anything that can be interpreted as a fair housing violation based on a protected characteristic.
Please feel free to reach out if you would like to discuss further. Take care, JT