I got a question this week about advertising, human models, and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) which I thought merited a blog post. A provision in our FHA makes it against the law to run an advertisement which indicates a preference or limitation with respect to one of the classes of people (race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin) protected under the law.

Guidelines concerning the use of human models in real estate ads make clear that “models should be clearly definable as representing majority and minority groups…” and that if models are used in pictures or diagrams, they should “indicate to the general public that housing is open to all” and not restricted to one class or group. Does that mean each and every ad must contain representatives from all the protected classes? No. But it does suggest that if your company is going to run a series of ads in any forum – it makes good sense to ensure multiple groups are included in the campaign.

Additionally, I typically recommend that an ad for housing include the Equal Housing Opportunity slogan and/or logo. Yes, the slogan should be clear and legible, but you will not be surprised to learn that the regulations even suggest that the size of the logo be based on the size of the ad. If you need a copy of the slogan or logo, let me know.

Just A Thought.