3 NYC brokerages settle charges over housing discrimination

Brokers allegedly turned away or ignored home seekers on government assistance
August 13, 2014 01:15PM

Three New York City brokerages agreed to pay penalties and change their policies to settle an investigation by the New York attorney general’s office into their alleged rejection of clients and applicants who receive government assistance.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the settlement today with Absolute Properties, Brownstone Real Estate and Destination Real Estate.

“Discrimination comes in many forms, but denying a home to someone because they receive government assistance is one of the most insidious, having a disproportionate effect on black and Hispanic individuals,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

During the investigation, an employee at Manhattan brokerage Absolute Properties told an undercover investigator that “they don’t do Section 8.”

Investigators said they discovered evidence that Brownstone Real Estate staff routinely told applicants it did not accept vouchers and ignored clients who inquired about using them.

At Destination Real Estate, another Brooklyn brokerage, an advertisement listed a unit as “Income Only.” A news release from the attorney general’s office said a Destination employee that meant individuals on government assistance would not be accepted.

The brokers agreed to pay a combined $39,000 in penalties. – Tom DiChristopher