With just 250 members and about fifty affiliates, the Midwest City-Del City-Moore Association of REALTORS® in central Oklahoma punches way above its weight. Its secret for success? Collaborating with like-minded organizations and leveraging the resources of the REALTOR® Party. Last fall, with support from a Fair Housing Grant, the local REALTORS® helped to provide fair housing training to professionals across the whole broad range of the housing industry, including those who design, build, lend, finance, assess, and advise; and those who manage and maintain rental properties.
This is the second time the association received the REALTOR® Party grant to present fair housing training in partnership with the Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing and other housing and finance agencies. MDMAR AE Peggy Missel notes that the state has recently experienced some significant fair housing legal cases on both design and management fronts, making the REALTORS® even more aware of how important it is for housing professionals to be well informed. “Our involvement serves several important purposes,” she says: “It helps to create a better-trained housing industry; it satisfies the CE requirement for numerous state licensing boards, and the training required to access many state and federal funding programs; and it provides a great networking opportunity for our REALTORS® among the intricately related fields in the housing industry. Over the course of the multi-day event attended by over 400 housing professionals, the REALTORS® sponsored two four-hour sessions of fair housing curriculum, helped with staffing tasks, and manned a booth in the convention center’s exhibition hall.
MDMAR is fortunate to have a Fair Housing Committee member who works closely with the coalition, says Missel: “Andrea Frymire is our ‘bridge’ to this partnership and to the event, as well as an instructor certified by the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission who manages the CE certification. We couldn’t do it without her!” The first session focused on how to design and construct housing in compliance with the Fair Housing Act, including the accessibility requirements that must be incorporated into multifamily housing; it was geared towards architects, developers, contractors, CPAS, social workers, planners, county assessors, attorneys, lenders, REALTORS®, and maintenance personnel. The following day, a second session delivered fair housing training for property managers, covering all three fair housing laws (the Fair Housing Act, ADA, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act); liability and compliance requests; and HUD’s fair housing complaint process.
Missel points out that when MDMAR offers fair housing activities to its members, there’s usually an emphasis on buying and selling. “Among our membership, though, there are a number of offices that are predominantly engaged in property management, because the state of Oklahoma requires property managers to have a real estate license. This training makes their situation the priority, and they learn about nuances of their business with relevant examples. They very much appreciated being the target audience for a change, and hearing about issues that were specific to them and their work.”
These training programs, she adds, help MDMAR members and affiliates enhance their service to low and moderate income households, as well as to Oklahoma residents with disabilities. “Becoming more inclusive and equitable has proven to be good for our industry, good for our REALTORS®, and good for our communities.”
To learn more about how the Midwest City-Del City-Moore Association of REALTORS® is working to make the ins-and-outs of fair housing law clear to professionals throughout
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