Bronx landlord accused of rental discrimination: lawsuit

Housing nonprofit claims it ran successful sting against Hamdi Nezaj, who denies wrongdoing

New York /
May.May 12, 2016 02:23 PM

The Fair Housing Justice Center is suing Bronx landlord Hamdi Nezaj, accusing him of discriminating among potential tenants on the basis of race and source of income. Nezaj told The Real Deal he is innocent of the charges.

The Financial District-based nonprofit claims to have sent several undercover workers, called “testers,” of various racial backgrounds and with various claimed sources of income to one of Nezaj’s rental offices.

According to the lawsuit, while Nezaj allegedly informed white testers of available units and offered tours, black testers were repeatedly told that no apartments were available, sometimes just minutes after the white testers had left.

In other cases, Nezaj allegedly quoted significantly higher asking prices to black testers than those offered to white testers for the same units, according to FHJC’s complaint.

The group also claims Nezaj discriminated similarly against prospective tenants who claimed they would utilize rental assistance to pay for units. If proven, the landlord’s alleged behavior would violate the federal Fair Housing Act.

“I do not discriminate,” Nezaj told TRD. “I have black, I have Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Pakistani.” The landlord also claimed he rented units at his properties through a real estate agency, apparently contradicting FHJC’s claims that he dealt with its testers personally.

According to the lawsuit, Nezaj’s son Lucky allegedly told one of the testers that his father “goes off of hunches” when deciding whether to rent to a prospective tenant.

FHJC didn’t immediately return a request for comment.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division settled a lawsuit with Village Realty of Staten Island and Denis Donovan. (Getty, iStock)
Feds settle housing discrimination lawsuit against firm, broker
Feds settle housing discrimination lawsuit against firm, broker
(Getty, iStock)
Flood costs are highest in formerly redlined areas
Flood costs are highest in formerly redlined areas
Aaron Carr of Housing Rights Initiative (Facebook, iStock)
Housing Rights probe accuses brokerages, landlords of Section 8 discrimination
Housing Rights probe accuses brokerages, landlords of Section 8 discrimination
In 2018, a Brookings Institution study found homes in majority-Black neighborhoods were undervalued by $48,000 on average. (iStock)
Appraisal Institute taking steps to root out racial bias
Appraisal Institute taking steps to root out racial bias
(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
State will use undercover testers to combat housing discrimination
State will use undercover testers to combat housing discrimination
Jerome Powell (Getty)
Powell sees new opportunity to reform low-income lending rule
Powell sees new opportunity to reform low-income lending rule
Sen. Anna Kaplan (Photos via Wikipedia Commons; iStock)
NY Senate to pass housing discrimination bills
NY Senate to pass housing discrimination bills
New York Senators James Skoufis, Kevin Thomas, and Brian Kavanagh. (Facebook via Skoufis, Thomas, and Kavanagh respectfully)
Lawmakers call for stiff penalties, reform after housing discrimination probe
Lawmakers call for stiff penalties, reform after housing discrimination probe
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...