New law calls for implicit bias training for real estate professionals


California has just given real estate professionals a little more responsibility thanks to a new law.

On September 28, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 263 in law, requiring California real estate license applicants and licensees to complete a implicit bias formation Classes.

The new law comes into force on January 1, 2023 and requires training to cover:

  • the impact of implicit, explicit and systemic biases on consumers;
  • the historical and social impacts of these prejudices; and
  • concrete steps that licensees can take to recognize and correct their own biases.

Training on implicit biases should be incorporated into both pre-license and continuing education Classes. This means that starting in 2023, applicants and licensees can expect to see an implicit two-hour bias component included in their Real estate practice and 45 hour renewal course, respectively.

Editor’s Note – Want to get a head start on issues of fair housing and implicit biases? To download the first Tuesday Fair housing continuing education e-book, which already covers many of the topics described in SB 263.

A diverse market is a healthy market

The bill met little opposition and was passed along with a new similar law requiring anti-bias training for California reviewers – no doubt thanks to attitude change on race relations in America. The 2020 Minneapolis Police murder of George Floyd sparked massive social unrest across the country, rekindling a long-standing conversation about housing disparities across racial lines in California too.

Americans widely agree that systemic racism harms their communities and companies. This damage also extends to California brokers and agents, as such practices end up harming turnover – which means less transaction fees for everyone.

Yet the real estate industry is still grappling with the lasting legacy of its racist past. To take redness, for example: the practice of refusing mortgages and undervaluing properties in communities of color. Redlining was officially banned in the Financial Discrimination in Housing Act 1977, but the practice continues under the radar and dictates where families of color can access credit today.

Associated article:

Redlining: its history and lasting impacts

Agreement to the detriment of bias and to acknowledge prejudices are different skills. SB 263 aims to reduce the home ownership gap for people of color by empowering licensees first. It’s up to agents and brokers – California’s trusted neighborhood wardens – to lead the charge into more diverse neighborhoods.

Editor’s Note – Mark our Legislative gossip page for regular updates on new and pending laws affecting your California real estate practice.

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