The New York State Legislature has passed legislation protecting state residents from discrimination by real estate agents, and now the bill heads to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk to be signed into law.
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. of Sag Harbor said in a statement this week that the bill is designed to help end discriminatory practices in the real estate industry that disproportionately affect minority homebuyers. The legislation makes clear that real estate brokers and salespersons may be fined and their licenses suspended or revoked for subjecting prospective homebuyers to discriminatory practices.
Mr. Thiele’s office noted in press release that New York State law already prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, military status, family status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Department of State has the authority to fine, suspend or revoke the license of a broker or real estate salesperson for violations of law; however, the existing statute does not specify that such violations of law include discriminating in the capacity of an agent or broker.
The new legislation expressly confirms the department’s authority to punish such conduct in order to deter future behaviors and to better secure for homebuyers the right to fair and equal treatment in the real-estate and housing marketplace, according to the assemblyman’s office.
“I thank my colleague for introducing this important and timely legislation that I was proud to co-sponsor and vote in favor of,” Mr. Thiele said in a statement. “Every New Yorker deserves equal treatment in our real estate industry, and no one should be impeded in their ability to achieve homeownership because of the color of their skin.”
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