This partial Fair Housing Advertising Word and Phrase List was recently disseminated to real estate agents throughout the country and suggests that you "Describe the Property – Not the People."
The Fair Housing Act prohibits certain categories of discrimination in housing. This federal law prohibits publishing advertisements indicating “any preference, limitation or discrimination based on” the protected categories “with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling.” Id. 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); 24 C.F.R. §100.75(a). Oklahoma has adopted a similar law that covers the same categories. See 25 O.S. § 1452 (A)(3). The categories are: 1. race; 2. color; 3. religion; 4. sex; 5. handicap; 6. familial status, or 7. national origin.
I found this incredibly interesting as we have been receiving mixed messages from colleagues, management, and attorneys on what exactly is appropriate or not. For example, many have suggested that "family" can’t be used in advertising yet this list says it can. Whatever you do, don’t ever suggest that you require someone who is "responsible" or "employed." No worries there, in Manhattan, the co-ops will handle that one for you.
I still find this all terribly confusing and nit-picky but it is what it is and we all have to abide by these guidelines.