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What does Ohio license law say about the fair housing logo & language?

By Peg Ritenour

When do you need to use the fair housing logo? What about the fair housing language? Whether the logo and language are required in listings, purchase contracts and advertising are questions frequently received on the Legal Hotline.

Under Ohio’s license law, the fair housing logo and statement are required in two places. First, all agency agreements (listing contracts, buyer agency agreements, property management agreements, auction contracts, etc.) must contain the fair housing logo and mandatory fair housing language if the property falls under the definition of housing covered by the fair housing laws. This includes agency agreements involving residential property and vacant land.

Secondly, the fair housing logo and statement must be included in the brokerage’s Consumer Guide to Agency Relationships. The license law requires that the fair housing language must be no smaller than 9 point font in that document.

The mandatory language that must appear in agency agreements and the Consumer Guide is as follows:

It is illegal, pursuant to the Ohio Fair Housing Law, Division (H) of Section 4112.02 of the Revised Code and the Federal Fair Housing law, 42 U.S.C.A. 3601, as amended, to refuse to sell, transfer, assign, rent, lease, sublease or finance housing accommodations, refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of housing accommodations, or otherwise deny or make unavailable housing accommodations because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status as defined in Section 4112.01 of the Revised Code, ancestry, military status as defined in that section, disability as defined in that section, or national origin or to so discriminate in advertising the sale or rental of housing, in the financing of housing, or in the provision of real estate brokerage services.

It is also illegal, for profit, to induce or attempt to induce a person to sell or rent a dwelling by representations regarding the entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons belonging to one of the protected classes.

It should be noted that while many brokers have the fair housing logo and language in their purchase agreements, there is no statutory requirement that they be included in that contract.

Another common question is whether the fair housing logo is required to be included in advertising, including print, yard signs, business cards etc. Although REALTORS are strongly encouraged to use the fair housing logo in their advertising, it is not mandatory. Below is the pertinent section of the federal  fair housing laws. I have highlighted the term should so you can see it is not must:

Use of Equal Housing Opportunity logotype, statement, or slogan. All advertising of residential real estate for sale, rent, or financing should contain an equal housing opportunity logotype, statement, or slogan as a means of educating the home seeking public that the property is available to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. The choice of logotype, statement or slogan will depend on the type of media used (visual or auditory) and, in space advertising, on the size of the advertisement. Table I (see Appendix I) indicates suggested use of the logotype, statement, or slogan and size of logotype. Table II (see Appendix I) contains copies of the suggested Equal Housing Opportunity logotype, statement and slogan.

With respect to usage of the logo, it is important to be consistent, as selective use of the logo could be considered discriminatory (ie., using it in some geographic areas and not others).

Here is a link to the entire section of the law that contains the tables referenced above with HUD’s recommendations regarding use of the logos.

Tags: legal