Real estate industry

Will training on implicit biases for real estate professionals become a trend? | Jackson Lewis PC

California requires training on implicit biases for real estate brokers and salespeople. Now, laws pending in New York and South Carolina could go in the same direction.

On September 28, 2019, California adopted Senate Bill 263, requiring real estate brokers and sellers to take a two-hour course on implicit bias as part of their continuing education. This training includes a component on the impact of implicit, explicit and systemic biases on consumers, as well as the historical and social impacts of these biases. The training should also describe the concrete steps real estate brokers and sellers can take to recognize and address their own implicit biases.

Similar legislation is pending in New York and South Carolina. New York Senate Bill 538 (and related New York Assembly Bill 4638) would require real estate brokers and sellers to complete at least two hours of instruction regarding awareness and understanding of bias implicit in their license renewal process. For the purposes of this training, the bill defines “implicit prejudices” as “attitudes or stereotypes that affect an individual’s understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner”.

South Carolina House Bill 3471 would require real estate brokers, sellers and brokers in charge to complete at least one hour of continuing education exclusively devoted to fair housing and discrimination in the sale or rental of real estate (or an interest in real estate) as a condition of active license renewal. The training topics mandated by the bill include consideration of the following: (a) the legacy of segregation, unequal treatment and historical lack of access to housing opportunities; (b) unequal access to amenities and resources on the basis of race, disability and other protected characteristics; (c) federal, state and local fair housing laws; and (d) anti-bias training. In addition, the bill would require property managers and the property managers in charge to undergo the same training regarding the rental of real estate as part of their license renewal process.

In light of these legislative trends, real estate brokers and other employers in the real estate industry should consider educating their brokers, salespeople, property managers and other professionals on fair housing practices and implicit biases.

Jackson Lewis’s attorneys will continue to monitor this and other developments affecting the real estate industry.

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