Cuomo announces new state rules following Newsday’s discrimination exposé

Advocates say better enforcement and testing is still needed

A month after an undercover investigation exposed widespread racial discrimination in Long Island’s housing market, New York state has announced new regulations to combat the problem.

The regulations, approved Monday by the New York State Real Estate Board, require agents to disclose fair-housing information and the New York State Human Rights Law to prospective clients, to prominently display notices on fair-housing laws at all offices, and to preserve video recordings of anti-discrimination training classes.

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“Housing discrimination is completely unacceptable and it’s also against the law,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Monday. “These new regulations and protocols will help ensure anyone looking to rent or buy a home knows their rights so they don’t fall prey to unscrupulous real estate brokers and landlords.”

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Advocates have welcomed the new rules, but say more action and better enforcement is still needed.

“If you’re just posting things and telling people that there are fair-housing laws and here’s how you can file complaints, as we’ve said many times, people don’t even recognize that they’re being discriminated against,” Elaine Gross, president of Syosset-based ERASE Racism, told Newsday.

Gross said she would like to see state-funded paired testing, similar to that conducted by Newsday during its three-year Long Island Divided investigation, where people of different races and similar financial profiles approach the same agents to see if they are treated equally.

“What will deter them the most is if they see that some realty agents are losing their licenses,” Gross said. “That will be the biggest deterrent.” [Newsday] — Kevin Sun