The New York State Board of Real Estate has approved new regulations to combat housing discrimination in response to a three-year Newsday investigation.
The investigation and subsequent report, titled “Long Island Divided,” found widespread illegal discrimination against minority homebuyers. Newsday also found that the fair housing and anti-discrimination training classes that real estate agents are required to attend were, more often than not, inaccurate, confusing or incomplete.
Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the Department of State to issue new regulations in light of Newsday’s report, which was published in November. On December 16, the State Board of Real Estate — which consists of the secretary of state, the superintendent of the Department of Financial Services and 13 appointed members — voted to approve several regulations.
To ensure buyers, sellers and prospective renters and landlords are aware of fair housing laws, real estate brokers will be required to see to it that each licensed agent working under their supervision provides fair housing disclosures to clients. The disclosures must also be available at open houses and showings.
Brokers will also be required to display at every office and open house a notice that highlights the Human Rights Law’s protections regarding housing and how consumers can file complaints. It must also be put on any real estate sales website.
To address inadequate training, any entity approved to provide fair housing or anti-discrimination training must make a video and audio recording of each session in its entirety and preserve it for one year.
“Housing discrimination is completely unacceptable and it’s also against the law,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “New York State is taking immediate action to help ensure renters and homeowners are protected from any and all discriminatory actions when it comes to safe, accessible housing. 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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