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Federal Judge Blocks Oregon Ban on Real Estate ‘Love Letters’

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Government + Policy

Federal Judge Blocks Oregon Ban on Real Estate ‘Love Letters’

Oregon’s ruling to restrict personal communication between buyers and sellers violates First Amendment freedoms, according to U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernández


March 9, 2022
Oregon state capital building
Image: Stock.adobe.com

During the first week of March, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that suspends Oregon’s ban on real estate 'love letters,' or personal notes exchanged between prospective homebuyers and sellers. U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernández argued that the law restricts free speech and is a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The letters in question are often written as appeals to sellers from buyers with potentially less-competitive offers. According to U.S. News, Oregon lawmakers restricted such homebuyer to seller communication to ensure that sellers would not make decisions based on race, national origin, marital or family status, sex, sexual orientation, or other protected classes.

The judge's injunction was a “major victory for free speech and economic opportunity,” said Daniel Ortner, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, which says it defends “Americans from government overreach and abuse.”

The ruling “preserves the opportunity of home-buyers to speak freely to sellers and make the case why their purchase offers should win out,” Ortner said in a statement.

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