Following a lawsuit brought by real estate brokers, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction, stopping Oregon’s ban on “love letters” for prospective homebuyers. Today’s ruling acknowledges that the ban violates the free speech of real estate brokers and prospective homebuyers.
“Today’s ruling preserves the opportunity of home-buyers to speak freely to sellers and make the case why their purchase offers should win out,” says Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Daniel Ortner. “Love letters communicate information that helps sellers select the best offer. The state cannot ban important speech because someone might misuse it. Oregon’s overly broad speech restriction is clearly not justified, and today’s decision is a major victory for free speech and economic opportunity.”
Last year, Oregon became the first state to pass a law banning real estate brokers from transmitting non-customary communications between home buyers and sellers, fearing that so-called “love letters” might be used to discriminate in housing transactions—but without any evidence of such discrimination.
For Total Real Estate Group, the ban on love letters harms their ability to match potential homebuyers with their dream homes. The letters often prompt sales below the top monetary offer, creating opportunities for first-time homeowners and giving sellers peace of mind that their home ends up in caring hands.
The case is Total Real Estate Group v. Strode, filed in United States District Court for the District of Oregon.