Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Suffolk County Fair Housing Task Force Expected to Begin Efforts to Combat Discrimination

On July 14, 2020, the Suffolk County Fair Housing Task Force convened for the first time after its creation and after delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. Its meeting agenda included a discussion of the group’s mission, goals, and expectations. The Task Force is expected to hold public hearings to gather information from residents, experts, and advocates and thus, provide the legislature and County Executive with their report of findings. The Task Force is also expected to start its efforts to combat housing discrimination in Suffolk County. Thus, real estate brokers are reminded of their duty to supervise agents and to be prepared by ensuring that agents receive proper training and that they comply with Fair Housing and discrimination laws.

As background, the Task Force was formed by resolution after the results of a multi-year investigation by Newsday and testers found extensive evidence of impermissible steering of consumers based on race. As such, the Task Force was charged with the responsibility to conduct a comprehensive review of Suffolk County’s Human Rights Law and provide recommendations to improve and strengthen these regulations to more effectively and efficiently stop individuals from discriminating against potential buyers of homes in Suffolk County.

Real estate brokers should be aware that private discrimination claims can include claims for actual damages, punitive damages, statutory penalties, attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as, the suspension or revocation of real estate licenses. To prevent liability and ensure that your licensed associates are properly trained to comply with current Fair Housing and discrimination laws, contact Lieb Compliance HERE for on-demand custom digital trainings for your licensed associates.

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