“Love letters” will live a little longer in Oregon real estate transactions after the federal district court in Portland issued a preliminary injunction on a new state law banning the practice.
In a real estate market where multiple buyers compete for seemingly every home, creativity can afford an edge. So it is that real estate agents often encourage “love letters” from buyers to sellers—those hand-crafted notes explaining (more or less) that the seller’s home is the stuff of dreams and would receive care and affection only if sold to the letter writers.
Evidence suggests these letters do in fact give buyers an edge. It also suggests that they can inject discrimination against protected classes, as sellers, consciously or not, select buyers who share their own traits. Worried that love letters were perpetuating biases and historic discrimination, the Oregon legislature banned the practice in 2021, in a law that limited brokers to exchanging nothing more than the “customary documents.”
Real estate brokerage Total Real Estate Group challenged the law in federal court, alleging that it abridged
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