On February 6, 2024, we sent the Ministry of Justice legal correspondence (Hebrew) demanding the establishment of ethics rules and regulations for real estate agents that includes discriminatory practices. This is a profession that has been regulated by legislation, requires licensing, and is tightly regulated by the state, including a disciplinary committee; however, this is the first time ethic regulations are being drafted. The proposed drafted regulations do not address the obligation of real estate agents to act equally and without discrimination when brokering residential apartments.
The residential market in Israel is riddled with racism and practices of discrimination, mainly implicit discrimination. ACRI has been involved in housing discrimination for many years, and receives complaints from members of minority groups who encounter refusal when they seek to purchase or rent apartments, even though they are advertised to the public on various websites. In most cases, those who actually committed acts of discrimination were sales agents, some of whom were realtors by profession in various real estate groups.
In the correspondence, Attorney Gil Gan-Mor, director of the Civil and Social Rights Units at ACRI, argued that the ethics rules should stipulate that discrimination in brokering a residential apartment will be considered a disciplinary offense. It should also be determined that a realtor who receives instructions from the person who hired his services to refrain from offering the apartment to the buyer or tenant for discriminatory reasons, is obligated to refuse to provide him with the service. He emphasized that the state's duty to protect the right to equality requires it to act proactively to protect the public from discrimination. Therefore, it must establish rules to prohibit discrimination, especially when it is a profession licensed and supervised by the state.