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
Council member Pierina Sanchez and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty, New York City Council)
Bill targets co-op discrimination against buyers
Bill targets co-op discrimination against buyers
President Joe Biden, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge
Biden restores, tweaks fair housing rule
Biden restores, tweaks fair housing rule
California Civil Rights Department director Kevin Kish (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty, LinkedIn)
California files first Section 8 discrimination lawsuit
California files first Section 8 discrimination lawsuit
A discrimination complaint by Ian Wilder’s nonprofit led to a settlement with Renaissance Management. Inset: 1710 Devonshire Road (Realtor, Long Island Fair Housing)
Long Island landlord forks over just $15K to settle voucher case
Long Island landlord forks over just $15K to settle voucher case
Appraisal gap worsened
Appraisal gap worsened as racial disparity persists
Appraisal gap worsened as racial disparity persists
Attorney General Letitia James and Compass' Robert Reffkin (Getty, Compass)
AG slaps Compass on wrist for voucher discrimination
AG slaps Compass on wrist for voucher discrimination
 Lakeland Bank president Thomas Shara (Lakeland Bank, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
In redlining case, New Jersey lender to pay $12M
In redlining case, New Jersey lender to pay $12M
A photo illustration of Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan (Getty Images)
Bank of America piloting no-down payment mortgages
Bank of America piloting no-down payment mortgages
arrow_forward_ios

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

Loading...