Paired testing bill targeting agent bias passes NY Senate

Lawmakers approve two anti-discrimination measures left out of 2021 legislation

New York /
Mar.March 01, 2022 02:00 PM

Sen. Anna Kaplan (NYSenate.gov, iStock)

The state Senate passed two bills aimed at reducing discriminatory real estate practices.

One would require the state attorney general’s office to do undercover testing to make sure brokers aren’t steering clients to or away from certain neighborhoods based on race, according to Newsday.

The other bill would require brokers and sales agents to report client demographic data to the state. Both measures need approval by the Assembly to become law.

The bills, which weren’t included in a package of laws signed last year to reduce discriminatory housing practices, were spurred by a Newsday inevstigation into Long Island real estate practices. The findings, published in 2019, showed widespread unequal treatment of minority communities and homebuyers.

In many cases, couples posing as buyers were steered to neighborhoods based on race, and in some cases mortgage preapproval was only required for Black to visit a home for sale. The New York Department of State filed cases against 23 agents after the Newsday probe but some have since returned to work.

“Paired covert testing, the kind undertaken by Newsday in their investigation, is the gold standard to ensure that everyone is treated fairly when they’re looking to buy a home, and it’s something that must be done regularly in order to protect the American Dream for all of our neighbors,” said Sen. Anna Kaplan, a Democrat from North Hills, in a statement, according to Newsday.

Kaplan re-introduced the covert testing bill this year.

It isn’t clear if the Assembly will vote on the legislation. Nine bills stemming from the Newsday investigation were signed into law last year, including measures to increase fines for housing discrimination, mandate anti-bias traning, standardize procedures for agents and increase brokers’ fees to pay for undercover testing.

Most of the real estate industry condemned the discrimination uncovered by Newday’s investigation, including the New York Association of Realtors, which tweeted that it was “proud to have worked with state lawmakers over the last two years to strengthen fair housing laws.”

Last year, Suffolk County set aside $140,000 and New York state added $250,000 to pay for undercover testing by local nonprofits across New York.

[Newsday] — Harrison Connery





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Carlton Hobbs with 60 East 93rd Street (Getty, Google Maps)
    One of NYC’s widest townhouses sells for $53M
    One of NYC’s widest townhouses sells for $53M
    Kathy Hochul, Samy Nemir Olivares, Lee Zeldin, Nikki Lucas, Keron Alleyne, Erik Dilan (Getty Images, iStock, Nikki Lucas, Keron Alleyne, Samy Nemir Olivares, Facebook)
    Real estate’s election winners and losers
    Real estate’s election winners and losers
    From left: Jon Bon Jovi, CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz and 155 West 11th Street (Getty Images, Compass Real Estate, iStock)
    Ovitz revealed as Bon Jovi’s Greenwich Village condo buyer
    Ovitz revealed as Bon Jovi’s Greenwich Village condo buyer
    From left: Howard Lorber, Bess Freedman, Ryan Serhant, Eddie Shapiro, and Robert Reffkin (Douglas Elliman, SERHANT, Compass, Getty Images, Brown Harris Stevens, iStock)
    Brokerage execs condemn SCOTUS ruling, pledge to cover abortion costs
    Brokerage execs condemn SCOTUS ruling, pledge to cover abortion costs
    From left: CHIP’s Jay Martin; Met Council on Housing’s Kate Ehrenberg (CHIP, Met Council on Housing, iStock)
    Rent stabilization: dysfunctional by design
    Rent stabilization: dysfunctional by design
    (iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
    U.S. home price growth slows for first time in five months
    U.S. home price growth slows for first time in five months
    From left: U.S. Assemblymember Thomas Suozzi, Governor of New York Kathy Hochul, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Getty Images, iStock/Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)
    Hochul challengers bang pro-tenant drum before primary election
    Hochul challengers bang pro-tenant drum before primary election
    Beechwood Organization's Steven Dubb and a previous rendering of Country Pointe Elwood (Beechwood Homes)
    Developer nixes age restriction on 385 homes planned at elusive Elwood site
    Developer nixes age restriction on 385 homes planned at elusive Elwood site
    arrow_forward_ios

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

    Loading...