The Fundamentals of Real Estate Advertising and Non-Discrimination


Advertising in the field of real estate plays a crucial role in buying, selling and renting properties. However, this advertising must comply with certain regulations to avoid discrimination. In this article, we will explore the key guidelines and regulations related to real estate advertising in California.

Anti-Discrimination Regulations

Section 804(c) of the Act

Section 804(c) of the Act prohibits the making, printing, and publication of advertisements that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. This prohibition applies to both publishers and individuals and entities that place real estate ads. It even applies to advertisements where the underlying property may be exempt from the provisions of the Act, but where the advertisement itself violates the Act.

Responsibility of Publishers and Advertisers

Publishers and advertisers are responsible for not publishing ads that violate the Law. This means that they must not publish ads that clearly express a preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin. However, if the terms or phrases used in an advertisement do not clearly indicate a preference, the publishers are not responsible for possible discriminatory interpretations.

Examples of Discrimination

  • Race, Color and National Origin: Advertisements that use words to describe the home, current or potential residents, or neighbors in racial or ethnic terms (for example, “white family home,” “non-Irish”) trigger liability under this section.
  • Religion: Advertisements must not contain explicit preferences, limitations, or discrimination based on religion (e.g., “no Jews,” “Christian home”). However, if an advertisement contains the legal name of an entity that has a religious reference (for example, “Roselawn Catholic Home”) or a religious symbol (such as a cross), but includes a disclaimer, it will not violate the Act.
  • Sex: Advertisements for single-family homes or detached units in multi-family housing must not contain explicit preferences, limitations, or discrimination based on sex. Terms such as “Master Bedroom”, “mother-in-law suite” and “bachelor apartment” are common descriptions and do not violate the Law.

Title 3: Other Discrimination Issues

Disability Discrimination

Advertisements must not contain exclusions, limitations or other explicit indications of discrimination based on disability (for example, “no wheelchairs”). However, ads that describe properties, services or facilities related to accessibility (such as a wheelchair ramp) are legal.

Discrimination by Family Status

Advertisements cannot express preferences, limitations or discrimination based on family status. This means they cannot set limitations on the number or age of children, nor express a preference for adults, couples or singles. Advertisements that neutrally describe properties, services and neighborhoods do not violate the Law.


Real estate advertising is a powerful tool for buyers and sellers, but it must comply with anti-discrimination regulations. Both publishers and advertisers have a responsibility to ensure that their ads do not express illegal preferences, limitations or discrimination. Compliance with these regulations is essential to promoting an equitable and non-discriminatory real estate market in California.

Legal and Tax Disclaimer

Please be advised that the content presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The articles and information provided here are written from the perspective of a real estate agent affiliated with Keller Williams, and do not represent legal or tax counsel.

As the author, I am a licensed real estate professional under Keller Williams, holding Brokerage DRE License Number: #02197031. However, it is important to note that my expertise is in the field of real estate, and not in legal or tax matters. The insights and opinions shared on this blog are based on my experiences and knowledge in the real estate industry and should be treated as general guidance rather than definitive legal or tax advice.

For specific legal or tax concerns relating to any real estate transactions or investments, readers are strongly encouraged to consult with a qualified attorney or tax advisor who can provide tailored advice based on your individual circumstances and the latest legal and regulatory requirements.

The information on this blog is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, and I, along with Keller Williams and its affiliates, disclaim all liability for any loss, damage, or misunderstanding arising from reliance on the information contained herein.

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