New York State Housing Discrimination Bill Passes

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House.

Both the Houses of the State of New York Legislature passed a bill aimed at ending discriminatory practices in the real estate industry that has disproportionately affected minority homebuyers.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele, who co-sponsored the legislation, said real estate brokers and salespersons may be fined and their licenses suspended or revoked for subjecting prospective homebuyers to such practices.

“Every New Yorker deserves equal treatment in our real estate industry, and no one should be impeded in their ability to achieve homeownership because of the color of their skin,” Thiele said in a statement.

“Homeownership is the cornerstone of the American Dream, and real estate agents and brokers play a significant role in this momentous part of their client’s lives,” the legislation reads. “Discrimination and segregation have no place in our modern society, and certainly have no place within the real estate and housing industry.”

A New York State law already prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, military status, family status, sexual orientation or gender identity, but the newly passed legislation gives the Department of State greater discretion in disciplining a real estate broker or salesperson found violating the provisions of the state’s Human Rights Law.

While the Department of State has the authority to fine, suspend or revoke a real estate salesperson or broker’s license for violations of the law, the statute does not specify discrimination includes acting in their capacity as an agent or broker.

“This important legislation changes this, expressly confirming the Department’s authority to punish such conduct in order to deter future behaviors and to better secure for homebuyers the right to fair and equal treatment in the real-estate and housing marketplace,” Thiele’s statement explained.

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