Federal judge rules prospective home buyers can still write “love letters” to sellers, overturning ban

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 10:28 PM PDT
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BEAVERTON, Ore. (KPTV) - A federal judge made it official Wednesday that Oregon home buyers can still send so-called “love letters” to get the attention of sellers.

This ends a ban the state legislature decided last year.

When prospective home buyers want their offer to shine, they sometimes write what’s called a love letter, explaining the reasons they should be the ones to get the house over other offers.

“I can understand why buyers and sellers like the idea of a love letter. It makes your heart feel good to hear a story but I think it’s short-sided for people not realizing there are issues that come up that expose protected classes to discrimination because people have biases that they’re not even aware of,” Lisa Bradburn said.

She’s a principal broker for Premiere Property Group and said she always explains to her clients up front that they don’t do love letters.

Last year the Oregon legislature banned love letters and any other communication beyond real estate transaction documents, saying sellers could use letters or photos to choose a buyer based on race, sex or religion.

“If you’ve raised your children in a house and you have wonderful memories, wouldn’t it be great to have a house full of children here again. Well that may or may not be who’s going to purchase the home. Or is it close to my church and are people from my church going to be able to buy this house, a whole myriad of things we take for granted and don’t think about that could alienate somebody else and that’s not fair,” she said.

A group called Pacific Legal Foundation sued over the state’s decision, leading us to this ruling, and a federal judge saying under the first amendment, the letters will still be allowed.