“Despicable”: Brokers, landlords accused of racial discrimination 

Fair Housing Justice Center used undercover testers in Brooklyn, Staten Island

Lawsuit Accuses Brokers, Landlords Of Racial Discrimination
Fair Housing Justice Center's Elizabeth Grossman with 518 West Caswell Avenue, 2732 East 65th street in Brooklyn, 202 Marine Avenue in Brooklyn

A fair housing group is suing two real estate brokers and three landlords in Brooklyn and Staten Island, alleging that they discriminate against Black renters.

The Fair Housing Justice Center sued Juda Niayzov and Alevtina Ioffe of Broooklyn-based Exclusive Properties Realty and landlords Amina Ali, Nderim Demirovic and 202 Marine LLC after launching an undercover investigation that used testers to inquire about apartments.

Niayzov consistently treated the Black testers worse than white ones, made derogatory comments about Black people during showings and said that one Staten Island neighborhood had “Italians, nice white people,” according to the complaint filed last week in federal court.

“Niayzov made shocking, despicable comments to the white testers when he thought it was ‘safe’ to do so, putting his racial bigotry on vivid display,” the suit alleges. The brokers conspired with the landlords to discriminate based on race, the suit claims.

The brokers did not respond to a request for comment. The landlords could not be reached for comment.

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The investigation began after a Black couple from Staten Island, Stanley Felix and Patricia Delone-Felix, submitted an offer to Niayzov for an apartment listing and were rejected. Niayzov told them the reason was that the owner had bad experiences renting to Black tenants, according to the suit.

The couple, who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, reported the experience to the fair housing nonprofit, which then launched the investigation.

Niayzov was late for viewing appointments with the Black testers, ignored their texts and calls, and asked for extra documentation before submitting an application, the suit claims. Meanwhile, white testers were allegedly shown more listings and offered rent discounts.

“Flagrant racist statements, like those alleged in this complaint, are shocking, hateful and devastating to hear,” Fair Housing Justice Center executive director and general counsel Elizabeth Grossman said in a statement. “They are yet another example of why the New York metro area remains so highly segregated.”

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