Saturday, May 30, 2015

Another Housing Discrimination Lawsuit Is Settled After Black Testers Allegedly Were Not Informed Or Shown Available Rental Apartments And/Or Steered To Dilapidated Units; Complaint Filed By White Woman Who Wanted To Live In Open, Racially Diverse Community Leaves Landlord, Agents $100K Poorer

In New York City, the Fair Housing Justice Center(1) recently announced:
  • On May 18, 2015, Federal Magistrate Ramon E. Reyes, Jr. approved a settlement resolving a rental discrimination case filed by the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC), a white woman, and three African American testers in November 2014. The lawsuit alleged that an Astoria real estate company and two licensed real estate brokers were discriminating against African American renters.

    The case resulted from a complaint received in August 2013 from a white woman who provided specific information about the rental practices of the defendants. The complainant objected to the alleged discriminatory conduct because she wanted to reside in a community that was open and racially diverse.

    After a two month investigation, the FHJC corroborated the allegations and found that the defendants were refusing to show many available rental units to African American renters. African American testers were discouraged, not informed about many available apartments, and/or only steered to an apartment that was in serious disrepair.

    In the settlement, Horizon Realty and the two individual defendants agree to comply with fair housing laws, adopt a policy statement of non-discrimination, include the non-discrimination policy in rental applications, publicly advertise available apartments, maintain rental records and permit the FHJC to inspect records for a period of three (3) years. The defendants will also receive training on fair housing laws. Finally, the defendants also agreed to pay a total of $100,000 to the plaintiffs in damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees. The plaintiffs were represented by Mariann Meier Wang and Alice G. Reiter with the law firm of Cuti Hecker Wang, LLP.
Source: Race Discrimination Case Settled ($100,000 and Injunctive Relief Ordered; Astoria Real Estate Firm Agrees to Comply with Fair Housing Laws).

(1) The Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) is a regional fair housing organization based in New York City. The FHJC provides a full-service fair housing program to New York City and the seven surrounding New York counties of Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester. Its mission is to eliminate housing discrimination, promote open, accessible, and inclusive communities, and strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws.

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