A real estate firm seeks to block a new Oregon law that bans real estate agents from forwarding love letters from homebuyers to sellers.
A lawsuit filed in federal court on Friday, by the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of Total Real Estate Group alleges the state’s ban on these communications violates the First Amendment rights of real estate brokers and their clients.
The lawsuit stated that the censorship was based on speculations that sellers might sometimes rely on information in these letters to discriminate based on a protected class.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Oregon Real Estate Commissioner Steve Strode could not be reached for comment.
Oregon Real Estate Agents Can Not Pass Along Personal Pitches
Oregon is the first state to ban the practice. Under the law, which is scheduled to take effect in January, real estate agents will not be allowed to pass along personal pitches from buyers that can include details about people’s lives along with photographs and videos. Buyers will still be allowed to communicate directly with home sellers.
In hot markets where multiple bidders fight for the same house, buyers will do just about anything to get their offer noticed which includes writing “love letters” in hopes of making a personal connection with a seller.
Increasingly, the real industry has grown uneasy that “love letters” could violate state and federal fair housing laws by revealing the buyer’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, or familial status. Many real estate agents refuse to accept or deliver them.