fbpx

Opening Acts: January 7, 2022

New York Fair Housing Network Responds to Enactment of New Laws

STATEWIDE COALITION COMMENDS GOVERNOR, LEGISLATORS

Below is a joint statement issued this week by the New York Fair Housing Network in response to new statewide fair housing legislation being signed into law:

 

New York, NY – January 7, 2022 – On Tuesday, December 21, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law nine fair housing bills to combat housing discrimination throughout New York State. The package of bills was designed to address widespread discrimination highlighted by Newsday’s three-year investigation “Long Island Divided.”

The legislative package attacks discrimination on several fronts:

  • The legislation establishes that all state and local agencies have a duty to affirmatively further fair housing.
  • It establishes the Anti-Discrimination in Housing Fund to be utilized by the Office of the Attorney General to conduct fair housing testing, and mandates that certain surcharges and penalties be diverted into that fund.
  • It establishes a hotline for housing discrimination complaints.
  • It increases education and training requirements and standardize intake procedures used by real estate professionals.
  • It requires real estate brokers and those who serve as mangers to supervise real estate agents.

Fair housing advocates applaud the Governor and state legislators for playing an instrumental role in the passage of these bills. As experts, we know that our work here is not completed. The Fair Housing Network is eager to continue collaborative efforts with the governor, legislators, and advocates to end housing discrimination.

The following statements have been issued on behalf of their organizations as well as the New York State Fair Housing Network:

Executive Director Marlene Zarfes, of White Plains-based Westchester Residential Opportunities, said: “As an organization dedicated to creating a more just and equitable housing market in New York State, WRO commends the work of Governor Hochul’s office, the legislators and all the tireless advocates who have fought to pass this package of improvements to our fair housing laws.”

Executive Director Ian Wilder of Long Island Housing Services said:  “We are grateful to the Legislature and the Governor for moving New York closer to our agency’s goal of eliminating housing discrimination.  Long Island’s own Newsday demonstrated the power of the press to center public discourse on the need to take action to make the American Dream of living where you wish available to all.

Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) is thrilled that Governor Hochul and the legislature of New York State are once again leading the nation on the important issue of equitable and fair housing.  These bills are an important step in the critical process of strengthening statewide fair housing laws and ensuring equal protection under the law for all New Yorkers.

 CNY Fair Housing commends the New York State legislature and the Governor’s office for taking action to address housing discrimination. This new legislation gives Fair Housing organizations like ours new tools to ensure equal access to opportunity in communities across New York State.

“The package of bills were designed to address widespread discrimination in the real estate industry which, as was revealed by Newsday’s three-year investigation “Long Island Divided,” stubbornly persists more than 50 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act. The outrageous behavior exposed by Newsday and by Fair Housing Justice Center’s continuing investigations demonstrates how ineffective fair housing laws and enforcement have been,” stated FHJC Executive Director Elizabeth Grossman. “These new laws are the beginning of much-needed change in legislative approaches to the ongoing blight of housing discrimination.”

Executive Director C. Kenneth Perri, of Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc., said: “As a fair housing enforcement agency we are grateful for the new education measures being introduced to help abate housing discrimination and the enhanced resources being provided to allow more New Yorkers impacted by housing discrimination to take steps to remedy their situations.”

 The following Fair Housing bills have been signed into law:

  1. S.945-B/A.6866 Establishes the anti-discrimination in housing fund and allocates moneys from fines thereto.
  2. S.2133-A/A.5363 Adds a surcharge to the fee paid for issuing or reissuing a real estate broker or salesmen license with such surcharge being collected by the department of state and payable to the office of the attorney general, to be used for statewide fair housing testing efforts.
  3. S.1353-A/A5428A Relates to establishing an obligation to affirmatively further fair housing by state departments, agencies or offices administering housing laws or housing programs and by any localities receiving state funds to administer programs and activities related to housing.
  4. S.2132B/A.5359 Increases the required training for real estate brokers and real estate salespeople relating to fair housing laws and housing discrimination.
  5. S.538B/S.4638A Requires real estate brokers and salespersons to receive implicit bias training as part of their license renewal process.
  6. S.979A/A.844-A Requires real estate brokers to receive training in cultural competency
  7. S.2131A/A.6186 Relates to requiring the secretary of state to promulgate regulations requiring real estate brokers to institute standardized operating procedures for the prerequisites prospective homebuyers shall meet prior to receiving any services; allows for a penalty to be imposed on any broker or salesperson who fails to comply with such standardized operating procedures
  8. S.2157A/A.6355 Requires associate real estate brokers serving as real estate officer managers to exercise supervision over other associate brokers and real estate salesmen.
  9. S.437C/A.2300-C Establishes a dedicated telephone line for housing discrimination complaints.

The mission of the FHJC, a nonprofit civil rights organization, is to eliminate housing discrimination; promote policies and programs that foster open, accessible, and inclusive communities; and strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws in the New York City region.