Time for some advertising compliance guidance related to housing.  Yes, advertising is covered under our Fair Housing Act (“FHA”).  Advertising can be on a sign, in print, on the radio, on television, and likely now over the internet.  The FHA regulations specifically identify certain words which “convey either overt or tacit discriminatory preferences or limitations” and which should be avoided whenever possible as the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and/or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) will consider the use of those words to “indicate a possible violation of the [FHA] and to establish a need for further proceedings…”  Words and phrases typically to be avoided include terms such as:  White private home, Jewish home, Hispanic residence, adult building, Caucasian, Black, Oriental, Christian, Chinese, Italian, close to Catholic church, perfect for singles, no children, physically fit, and/or men only.  Remember this is only a subset of the potentially problematic phrases most likely to be avoided.

Again, does use of these words automatically mean you have violated the FHA?  No.  But it does mean that these terms are viewed skeptically by DOJ and HUD and if you use these words in an ad (in any form), you may well need to speak with a lawyer like me.

Also, if you are using human models or pictures in your ad, the best guidance is to use a variety of races/national origins.  That does not mean every ethnic group must be in every advertisement, but if you are running a series or have more than one photo, the wiser course is to include some diversity in your promotional campaign.

Oh, and I always recommend that you include the Equal Housing Opportunity logo in your ad.

Just A Thought.