Cape Cod Realtors will have to undergo fair housing training

HYANNIS — When a Realtor guides a client through finding a new home, they might point them in a certain direction, believing they are helping the home buyer.

But that can be steering, where a Realtor influences a buyer’s choice of communities based on race, color, religion, gender or another protected characteristic. The practice is expressly prohibited under the Fair Housing Act.

The Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors membership recently voted “overwhelmingly” to require members undergo continual training on fair housing, according to a press release. Members now have until Dec. 31, 2024 to complete the first round of training.

Ryan Castle is the chief executive officer of the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors.

Association CEO Ryan Castle said the move was spurred by a three-year Newsday investigation that revealed discrimination by real estate agents in the Long Island area, saying it “really shook up the industry.”

“A lot of us asked: ‘How can we do better?'” Castle said.

The local real estate association, which was established in 1926, reports having about 2,600 members. 

Training will help prevent Fair Housing Act violations

The new approach means Realtors would have to complete at least two hours of education every three years to maintain membership. The requirement only applies to Realtors belonging to the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors and excludes real estate licensees who aren’t a Realtor member.