Owners of Queens complex won’t rent to ex-cons: suit

Social services provider accuses landlords of 900-unit Sand Castle of discrimination

711 Seagirt Avenue in Queens
711 Seagirt Avenue in Queens

Queens property owner Sandcastle Towers Housing Development Fund and investor group Sarasota Gold are facing a lawsuit for allegedly excluding rental applicants with criminal records from leasing an apartment at the Sand Castle, a 900-unit rental complex in Far Rockaway.

Fortune Society, a provider of social services, filed a lawsuit yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Brooklyn.

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Representatives of Sandcastle were accused of telling Fortune Society staff that tenants with a criminal past “scare” management at 711 Seagirt Avenue, and that they consider a record to be a “red flag.” Sand Castle had rented units to four of the clients of Fortune Society through a client.

Applicants were rejected “regardless of the nature of the conviction, the amount of time that has lapsed since the conviction, evidence of rehabilitation, or any other factor related to whether a specific person poses any threat to safety,” according to the lawsuit cited by the New York Times. The owners did not comment to the newspaper. [NYT]Mark Maurer