“Sucks, right?” Long Island landlord fined for fair housing violation

Brentwood landlord retracted rent offer due to disability

Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal with Getty Images)

“Sucks, right?”

That was the response from a Long Island landlord to a woman he refused to rent an apartment to because of her daughter’s disability, according to federal authorities. It “sucks” to be him now, though, because he was fined for the fair housing violation.

Brentwood landlord Alex Raimos was fined $70,000 for discriminating against the woman, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development wrote in a court order reported by Newsday. Approximately $50,000 is going to the victim, whose name was redacted from the order, while another $20,000 is going to HUD for civil penalties.

The saga started in November 2017, when the woman said she approached Raimos after struggling to find a rental that either fit her budget or accommodated her daughter, who has cerebral palsy. The process moved along to the extent that a security deposit was submitted and plans were made to move in.

Things changed when Raimos learned of the daughter’s disability, HUD said.

Raimos delayed the move-in date three times, authorities say, before telling the woman in January 2018 that her daughter’s disability would prevent him from renting them apartment, which did not require any modifications to fit the tenant’s needs. The family ultimately moved in with the woman’s cousin.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Charges were filed against Raimos in June 2021 and the landlord didn’t respond to them, nor did he attend a video conference hearing regarding damages in January.

Read more

“To put complainant and her disabled child through two months of anticipation, excitement and hope only then to take it away because of her child’s cerebral palsy is reprehensible,” said J. Jeremiah Mahoney, a chief U.S. administrative law judge for HUD.

Mahoney also brought attention to more than two dozen Craigslist ads posted by Raimos, which discriminated against families with children — a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Raimos did not respond to the outlet’s request for comment on the HUD decision.

— Holden Walter-Warner