City sues property manager, broker for refusal to accept government vouchers

Broker Everton Campbell and landlord Oxford Realty Group allegedly discriminated against prospective renters

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Seaview Estates (credit: Street Easy)

The city of New York sued a broker and a landlord Wednesday for allegedly refusing to accept tenants using government housing vouchers.

Landlord Oxford Realty Group and broker Everton Campbell were sued in separate court complaints for allegedly turning away prospective renters who intended to pay with vouchers, the New York Times reported. At Seaview Estates on Staten Island, the city claims Oxford Realty repeatedly denied apartments to investigators who inquired about renting with a voucher. And in the Bronx, Campbell allegedly posted online ads stating vouchers were not accepted at the properties he represented.

The city has tried to dissuade landlords from violating the New York City Human Rights Law by giving them subsidies such as 15 percent broker fees and $3,500 bonuses for every apartment rented to a voucher-holder. But the enticements to landlords to follow the law haven’t been working.

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“For those who don’t want to be our partners, we’re coming,” Department of Social Service commissioner Steve Banks told the Times. “For those who have not been partners, these two lawsuits should put them on notice.”

The city, state and federal government together now spend $165 million annually to help convince landlords to not break the law, the Times reported. [NYT]  — Will Parker