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On May 31, 2023, the Housing Rights Initiative (HRI) filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division Essex County against Keller Williams Realty, Weichert Realtors, EXP Realty, Century 21 Real Estate, LLC, Coldwell Banker Realty INC., RE/MAX, 12 landlords and other unknown entities. The complaint alleges that these companies have been engaged in housing discrimination practices in Newark and Jersey City. 

The lawsuit was first reported in the New Jersey Monitor and claims these companies deny access to housing based on lawful source of income. The complaint alleges that these companies have refused to rent or sell homes to people with Section 8 vouchers or other forms of government assistance. 

HRI has filed similar lawsuits against real estate companies in New York State as well. These lawsuits are part of an effort to combat housing discrimination across the country. 

It is important for all real estate professionals to be aware of their obligations under fair housing laws and regulations. Everyone should have equal access to housing opportunities regardless of race or national origin. 

This lawsuit serves as a reminder that all real estate professionals must comply with fair housing laws and regulations when engaging in business activities related to renting or selling homes. The NYS Division of Human Rights has an excellent, up to date guide, “Fair Housing under the NYS Human Rights Law” for reference including all the current protected classes.