Long Island landlord forks over $15K to settle voucher case

Renaissance Management accused of discriminating against subsidized tenants

A discrimination complaint by Ian Wilder’s nonprofit led to a settlement with Renaissance Management. Inset: 1710 Devonshire Road (Realtor, Long Island Fair Housing)
A discrimination complaint by Ian Wilder’s nonprofit led to a settlement with Renaissance Management. Inset: 1710 Devonshire Road (Realtor, Long Island Fair Housing)

The owner of two multifamily properties in Suffolk County will hand over a modest sum to settle housing discrimination claims.

Renaissance Management, owner of both Renaissance Bay in East Patchogue and Renaissance Hills in Hauppauge, will pay $15,000 under the settlement with Long Island Housing Services, Newsday reported.

The real estate firm was accused of systematically turning away prospective tenants who planned to use Section 8 vouchers toward their rent.

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Building management will also need to train leasing agents on housing discrimination, review policies, put up anti-discrimination posters at facilities and update online materials to inform tenants that the company is committed to not discriminating against tenants.

Renaissance did not comment to the publication.

The New Jersey-based company in 2020 acquired the 915-unit Renaissance Bay for $232.5 million and 615-unit Renaissance Hills for an unknown amount.

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Last year, LIHS filed a complaint with the state after hearing from someone who wanted to rent an apartment at Renaissance Bay using a housing choice voucher. She was informed she needed an income that was a specific multiple of the rent to qualify.

That is illegal, according to Ian Wilder, executive director at LIHS, because it violates state law to discriminate against tenants based on the source of income they would use to pay rent. To be eligible for Section 8, tenants must have a low income — the very reason Renaissance rejected them.

After the fair housing nonprofit received the complaint, it conducted fair housing testing at both properties and found they were requiring rent-to-income ratios, even for applicants looking to use housing vouchers.

Long Island landlords have been under scrutiny for alleged fair housing violations.

A landlord in Brentwood was fined $70,000 for refusing to rent an apartment to a woman based on her daughter’s disability.

In August, LIHS settled source-of-income discrimination complaints in Suffolk County against Brookwood Apartments. The landlord of six local properties coughed up $40,000.

— Holden Walter-Warner