Dispute Arises Over the Term ‘Master Bedroom’

June 25, 2020

The Houston Association of REALTORS® says it will stop permitting the term “master bedroom” or “master bathroom” to be used in MLS descriptions. The decision to remove the term comes after a group of real estate professionals said the term “master” on property description represents a potential stigma.

HAR has updated the phrase to “primary bedroom” and “primary bath” on its MLS and on har.com.

The national standards organization for MLSs is reportedly considering a similar change that would make “primary” the new standard nationwide.

“‘Master’ represents a stigma and place in time that we need to move forward from,” Tiffany Curry, a Houston real estate broker and owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, told the Houston Chronicle. “As a progressive, diverse city, Houston should be reflective of its citizenship.”

Some home builders are dropping the term, too. David Weekley Homes now refers to the space as the “owner’s retreat” instead.

The National Association of REALTORS® told the Houston Chronicle that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has advised the association that the term “master bedroom” is not discriminatory and that its usage does not violate any fair housing laws.

“NAR sees no reason that real estate professionals cannot use the term, as there is also no evidence that it has any historical connection to slavery or any other kind of discrimination,” NAR President Vince Malta said in a statement.

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