Critics: unlawful for real estate websites to provide demographic data

by Walter Olson on July 15, 2014

A popular feature of many real estate websites is the ability to search for neighborhood- and town-level statistics on crime, rated school quality, income, age, concentration of school-age children, and a host of other demographic variables. Now the National Fair Housing Alliance, the busy group that has extracted tens of millions of dollars from other businesses through complaints and litigation, says it is considering complaints against sites that offer search for information related to forbidden fair housing categories (race, national origin, family structure, and others) and either offer real estate for sale or refer business to real estate agencies. Site operators object that the offending information typically comes from the U.S. Census Bureau itself and that consumers could still obtain such information online, if a bit less conveniently, even if real estate sites stopped offering it. [Kenneth Harney, Washington Post/syndicated]

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1 Anonymous Attorney 07.16.14 at 11:50 am

Fair housing laws forbidding discrimination should be stricken as an unconstitutional impingement on the freedom of association.

Until then, maybe the NFHA could issue blindfolds for potential home-buyers to wear as they ride through prospective neighborhoods, lest they spot characters whose neighborhood they’d rather avoid.

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