New York Attorney General Letitia James announced settlements with three New York real estate brokerages that violated the Fair Housing Act and the New York State Human Rights Law. As part of the settlement, Laffey Real Estate will pay $30,000 to the state and $35,000 to Suffolk County to conduct unannounced fair housing testing of any agent at any of its branches. In addition, the firm must create an online complaint form for potential buyers and sellers to report any potential instances of discrimination and is required to provide quarterly fair housing training for all of its agents. Keller Williams Greater Nassau and Keller Williams Realty Elite will pay $25,000 to Suffolk County to promote enforcement of and compliance with fair housing laws in addition, they must also spend up to $25,000 on fair housing courses and training for their agents.
The Department of State has also acted against individual Realtors, including revoking the license of a former Realtor at Keller Williams Greater Nassau and fining another agent. Investigations into other agents are also pending.
“Efforts to discriminate against any New Yorker’s fair access to housing cannot, and will not, be tolerated,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “These investigations have uncovered a pervasive culture of allowing unlawful discrimination and violations of every New Yorker’s right to fair housing. These settlements should send a clear message: if you discriminate and deny New Yorkers their basic right to housing, we will take action.”
“With these actions, we’re delivering a forceful message: New York state has zero tolerance for discrimination,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul. “Here in New York, we firmly believe that housing is a human right and I thank Attorney General James and Secretary of State Rodriguez for their work to enforce our laws and protect that right for all New Yorkers.”
For more information and details of the investigation, visit this article by Alex Costello, Patch Staff “3 LI Realty Firms Fined For Discriminating Against Clients of Color” or this article by David Winzelberg in Long Island Business News “NYAG settles discrimination allegations with LI brokerage firms”.