LI Board of Realtors kicks off anti-discrimination marketing campaign

The Lengthy Island Board of Realtors kicked off a marketing campaign Thursday to teach the actual property business on honest housing points with an preliminary give attention to the rights of renters who use authorities help to pay for housing.

State and native legislation prohibits property homeowners and actual property brokers from refusing to lease or promote to potential tenants or consumers utilizing revenue from authorities help, such because the Part 8 Housing Alternative Voucher program. Different types of revenue which might be protected embody youngster assist and alimony funds, unemployment insurance coverage and Social Safety revenue. LIBOR has compiled sources for business professionals on a brand new web site,

Given the comparatively latest addition of source-of-income protections — New York state legislation was amended so as to add them in 2019 — LIBOR thought the web site might assist homeowners, realtors, condominium associations and co-op boards perceive their obligations, stated Tessa Hultz, the board’s CEO.

“I’d speculate there’s a lack of knowledge that is truly a protected class in New York,” Hultz stated. “There’s a stigma related to public help, and a part of why we wished to do that marketing campaign is to teach. The stigmas are based mostly on issues that simply aren’t true.”

Truthful housing teams have highlighted supply of revenue discrimination as an unlawful barrier that has made it more durable for renters to search out housing. In Could, the Manhattan-based nonprofit Housing Rights Initiative filed a lawsuit towards 124 actual property brokers, property managers and homeowners alleging they engaged in discrimination towards renters searching for to pay with government-provided rental help or refused to permit these people to use for residences.

The nonprofit filed the criticism in state Supreme Courtroom in Manhattan, naming defendants corresponding to Douglas Elliman, Keller Williams Realty of Larger Nassau County and RE/MAX Edge in Brooklyn, after conducting an investigation that included utilizing civil rights testers to contact housing suppliers and see in the event that they adhered to honest housing legal guidelines.

A spokeswoman for RE/MAX stated the corporate is “dedicated to supporting housing for everybody equally.”

“Although every RE/MAX franchise is an independently owned and operated enterprise, if any RE/MAX agent is performing in a means that isn’t in accordance with the legislation or our values, we anticipate our franchise homeowners to instantly rectify the scenario,” the spokeswoman stated in an announcement to Newsday.

A spokeswoman for Douglas Elliman declined to touch upon the lawsuit, which is pending. Keller Williams didn’t reply to a request for remark Thursday afternoon.

Prior to now, some landlords have had an unfair view towards Part 8 tenants as much less fascinating tenants, Daybreak Lott, government director of the Suffolk County Human Rights Fee stated throughout a good housing discussion board earlier this month in Mineola.

“It’s the bias because it pertains to a recipient of Part 8, and it’s actually unfounded,” Lott stated.

LIBOR’s web site contains data for landlords on their authorized obligations and potential advantages from accepting housing vouchers, corresponding to a dependable revenue stream backed by the federal government. Violators of the legislation can withstand $250,000 in civil penalties per violation in addition to attainable compensatory damages to tenants. The Division of State also can take motion towards the license of an actual property agent who engages in discriminatory conduct.

Property homeowners are allowed to require revenue and credit score historical past {qualifications}, in accordance with data offered on the brand new web site, however they can not accomplish that in a means that “frustrates the aim of source-of-income legal guidelines,” LIBOR wrote. Which means, if a voucher covers 100% of a tenant’s lease, it might be unreasonable to disclaim the particular person’s rental software due to their credit score historical past or revenue.

Hultz stated brokers serve an essential function in educating not simply landlords, but in addition traders shopping for rental properties who may not pay attention to their authorized obligations.

The Human Rights Initiative’s investigation and Newsday’s Lengthy Island Divided sequence contributed to LIBOR’s curiosity in creating a web site the place actual property organizations can study extra about honest housing, Hultz stated.

“We wish to additional honest housing for everybody on Lengthy Island, and meaning not simply taking a look at residential buying and promoting,” Hultz stated. “If we turn out to be conscious of a difficulty inside the rental market that pertains to honest housing, we have to take a look at that as nicely.”

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