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Showing posts with label nys human rights law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nys human rights law. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Housing Discrimination - Updated Protected Classes List - As Applicable to Downstate New York

We are always updating our CE courses at Lieb School because the law is constantly changing. 


While the law changes on every topic, there is no field that seems to be evolving today more than anti-discrimination law. So, we thought it important to share our updated definitive lists of protected classes within downstate New York for Fair Housing and Discrimination Law.


Note - While these lists are similar for employment discrimination law, there are minor differences in protections between the two fields and you should consult with an attorney should you have any questions.


Fair Housing Act:

  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. National origin
  4. Religion
  5. Sex
  6. Familial status
  7. Handicap

New York State Human Rights Law
  1. Race
  2. Creed
  3. Color
  4. National origin
  5. Sexual orientation
  6. Gender identity or expression (transgender)
  7. Military status
  8. Sex
  9. Age
  10. Disability
  11. Marital status
  12. Lawful source of income
  13. Familial status
  14. Arrest / sealed conviction record
  15. Domestic violence victim status (lease / occupancy only)

New York City Human Rights Law
  1. Race
  2. Creed 
  3. Color 
  4. National origin 
  5. Gender 
  6. Age 
  7. Disability 
  8. Sexual orientation 
  9. Uniformed service
  10. Marital status 
  11. Partnership status 
  12. Immigration or citizenship status
  13. Lawful source of income 
  14. Presence of children 
  15. Occupation
  16. Victim of domestic violence, stalking or sex offenses

Westchester Fair Housing Law:
  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. Religion
  4. Age
  5. National origin
  6. Alienage or citizenship status
  7. Ethnicity
  8. Familial status
  9. Creed
  10. Gender
  11. Sexual orientation
  12. Marital status 
  13. Disability 
  14. Source of income
  15. Status as victim of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or stalking

Nassau County Fair Housing (Open Housing)
  1. Race
  2. Creed
  3. Color
  4. Gender
  5. Disability
  6. Age 
  7. Religion
  8. Source of income
  9. Veteran status 
  10. Sexual orientation
  11. Familial status 
  12. Marital status
  13. Ethnicity  
  14. National origin
  15. First responder status
  16. Visible traits of an individual such as natural hair texture, protective hairstyles & donning of religious garments or items and shall include segregation

Suffolk County Human Rights Law:
  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. Creed
  4. Age
  5. National origin
  6. Alienage / citizenship
  7. Gender
  8. Sexual orientation 
  9. Disability
  10. Marital status 
  11. Sex
  12. Familial status
  13. Military status 
  14. Visible traits of an individual, such as natural hair texture, protective hairstyles & donning of religious garments or items
  15. Lawful source of income
  16. Veteran status
  17. Victim of domestic violence

To remind everyone, the federal law is the floor under which states and locales may not fall. Plus, there are often city / town / village anti-discrimination laws that are also relevant and must be respected in housing.

Discrimination is wrong and should be eliminated through trainings, policies, and lawsuits. As a society, we have to utilize all of the tools in our arsenal to make housing available to everyone irrespective of demographics.

Help us to get the word out on this one. It's important because unless everyone knows the protections, no one is really protected.





Wednesday, January 27, 2021

NYS Senate Report on Fair Housing - Changes Coming to RE Brokerage - Get Ready NOW

A 97 page report was just issued by the NYS Senate on persistent racial and ethnicity-related housing discrimination and this report is going to change the real estate brokerage industry in NYS forever. 


Are you ready? 


According to the report, housing discrimination has changed over the last hundred years from being overt to subvert. However, housing discrimination clearly still exists and something has to be done about it now. 


Would it surprise you to learn that in 2019 there were 28,880 reported complaints of housing discrimination in the USA? Again, twenty-eight thousand complaints!!!


Did you know that the precursor to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) required its members to discriminate as follows:

A Realtor should never be instrumental in introducing into a neighborhood a character of property or occupancy, members of any race or nationality or individuals whose presence will clearly be detrimental to property values in that neighborhood. 

While this overt discrimination is less prevalent today, the report explains that: 

Today, bad actors often use subtler forms of discrimination; they direct homebuyers of different apparent backgrounds toward different communities, impose more stringent financial requirements on people of color, and provide unequal services to clients based upon their race or ethnicity.

[S]ome real estate agents utilize subtle ways to discriminate, like racially coded guidance and disparate treatment in services offered.


In acknowledging that real estate brokers and agents are the gatekeepers for neighborhoods, the report makes the following categories of recommendations:

  1. Develop a NYS Fair Housing Strategy
  2. More Proactive Enforcement of Fair Housing Laws (i.e., testing, more funding, & data collection)
  3. Licensing & Renewal Training Requirements (i.e., more training from better instructors for licensing & continuing education with a focus on implicit bias trainings)
  4. Increased Penalties & Broader Accountability (i.e., $2K fines increased from $1K & managers responsible like brokers with increased experience requirements to qualify)
  5. Standardized Broker Policies with Public (i.e., prospect identification, exclusive broker agreement requirements, & pre-approval for mortgages)
  6. Internal Brokerage Policies (i.e., brokerages need updated policy manuals with fair housing statements & explanations of the consequences for violations)
  7. State & Local Governments to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (i.e., enforcement is everyone's responsibility) 
  8. Brokers Must Open Offices in Communities of Color (i.e., 12 firms control 50% of listings, but only about 20% to 33% of the listings in minority communities)
  9. More Diverse Brokerage Workforce (i.e., NAR's members are 80% white; need Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiatives to attract talent to the industry) 
The report also suggests, that brokers fund these recommendations by charging between $10 & $30 for license renewal to the 130,578 real estate brokerage licensees in NYS.

Are you ready yet? 

There are eleven new pieces of legislation supported in this report and because our state has a one-party controlled government, they are likely going to pass quickly.

Brokers, Salespersons, and other industry participants, like landlords, property managers, and attorneys need to get ahead of this now and make proactive changes to their practices today. The alternative is defending the next wave of enforcement initiatives. 

In reminding everyone of this salient fact, the report quoted Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in saying:

There is very little truth in the old refrain that one cannot legislate equality. Laws not only provide concrete benefits, they can even change the hearts of men some men, anyhow for good or evil.

It's time to change from being part of the problem to being part of the solution. Are you ready?