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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 18. Professional and Occupational Licensing
Agency 135. Real Estate Board
Chapter 50. Fair Housing Regulations
9/30/2020

18VAC135-50-270. Use of Words, Phrases, Symbols and Visual Aids.

The following words, phrases, symbols, and forms typify those most often used in residential real estate advertising to convey either overt or tacit discriminatory preferences or limitations. In considering a complaint under the fair housing law, the board will consider the use of these and comparable words, phrases, symbols, and forms to determine a possible violation of the law and to establish a need for further proceedings on the complaint, if it is apparent from the context of the usage that discrimination within the meaning of the law is likely to result.

1. Words descriptive of dwelling, landlord and tenants. White private home, Colored home, Jewish home, Hispanic residence, adult building.

2. Words indicative of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, elderliness or national origin, including but not limited to:

a. Race: African-American, Negro, Black, White, Caucasian, Oriental, Asian, American Indian, Native American, Arab.

b. Color: White, Black, Colored.

c. Religion: Protestant, Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Islamic.

d. National origin: Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Philippine, Polish, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Chicano, African, Hispanic, Chinese, Indian, Latino.

e. Sex: The exclusive use of words in advertisements, including those involving the rental of separate units in a single or multi-family dwelling, stating or intending to imply that the housing being advertised is available to persons of only one sex and not the other, except where the sharing of living areas is involved. Nothing in this section restricts advertisements of dwellings used exclusively for dormitory facilities by educational institutions.

f. Handicap: crippled, blind, deaf, mentally ill, retarded, impaired, handicapped, physically fit. Nothing in this section restricts the inclusion of information about the availability of accessible housing in advertising of dwellings.

g. Familial status: adults, children, singles, mature persons. Nothing in this section restricts advertisements of dwellings which are intended and operated for occupancy by older persons and which constitute "housing for older persons" as defined in 18VAC135-50-210.

h. Elderliness: elderly, senior citizens, young, old, active, available to those between 25 and 55.

3. Catch words. Words and phrases used in a discriminatory context should be avoided, e.g., "restricted," "exclusive," "private," "integrated," "traditional," "board approval," "membership approval."

4. Symbols or logotypes. Symbols or logotypes which imply or suggest race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, elderliness or national origin.

5. Colloquialisms. Words or phrases used regionally or locally which imply or suggest race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, elderliness or national origin.

6. Directions to real estate for sale or rent (use of maps or written instructions). Directions can imply a discriminatory preference, limitation, or exclusion. For example, references to real estate location made in terms of racial or national origin significant landmarks, such as an existing black development (signal to blacks) or an existing development known for its exclusion of minorities (signal to whites). Specific directions which make reference to a racial or national origin significant area may indicate a preference.

7. Area (location) description. Names of facilities which cater to a particular racial, national origin or religious group, such as country club or private school designations, or names of facilities which are used exclusively by one sex may indicate a preference.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.8 and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia; 42 USC § 3613.  

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 2.21, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003; Volume 30, Issue 11, eff. March 1, 2014.

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