PAR and BCAR have been made aware of demand letters sent to real estate agents and brokers, claiming that their websites are in violation of FHA and ADA accessibility guidelines and demanding a settlement payment to avoid potential litigation. This is a tactic that has been used in other areas of the country, and it appears to have spread to Pennsylvania.
Please do NOT CONTACT THE ATTORNEY WHO SENT THE LETTER. Individual real estate agents should immediately contact their brokers. Brokers should then immediately contact brokerage counsel and/or their errors and omissions insurance carrier. Some of these letters have already been assigned to E&O defense counsel for action, and there is an existing roadmap for challenging these claims.
Members should also report the scam to the PAR Legal Hotline.
Website accessibility issues are quite complicated. The general issue has been litigated through the federal court system with varying results, and the federal government has still not adopted any specific rules or guidelines that clarify exactly what steps are needed for full compliance. Members can learn more about the general issue from this recent NAR video and NAR has also published some additional information targeted to associations. Brokers/agents and associations should contact their website providers to see what steps they are taking to improve accessibility.