Opening Acts: November 30, 2015

Landlord Pays $95,000 to Resolve Fair Housing Case

FHJC Testing Investigation Yielded Evidence of Race Discrimination

On November 24, 2015, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III signed an agreement resolving a housing discrimination lawsuit involving 43-unit rental building in Brooklyn.  The complaint, filed in January 2015 by the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) and three African American testers, alleged that a rental agent for FGC 710 Avenue S. LLC engaged in racially discriminatory rental practices.  The complaint alleged, among other things, that African American testers were quoted higher rents and security deposits or were told no apartments were available while the same agent quoted lower rents and security deposits and provided information about available apartments to comparably qualified white testers.

As part of the injunctive relief in this case, the defendants agreed to adopt, post, and distribute a fair housing policy, require employees and agents to participate in fair housing training, ensure that available rental units are publicly advertised, and require uniform standards and procedures for showing available apartments and dispensing information about them. The order provides that the defendants will maintain rental records and the FHJC will be able to monitor compliance with the agreement for a period of four years. Finally, the defendants agreed to pay the plaintiffs $95,000 for damages and attorney’s fees.

The plaintiffs were represented by Milton L. Williams, Jr. with the law firm of Vladeck, Raskin & Clark P.C.

FHJC Executive Director Fred Freiberg commented, “This is yet another example of how testing is often the only way to learn whether landlords are providing the same information, quoting the same prices, offering the same service, and affording the same treatment to people of different races.” Freiberg added, “Without testing, most racial discrimination in housing would go undetected and unchallenged.”  

HUD Publication Devoted to Fair Housing Testing

Cityscape Article Cites FHJC’s Work in New York City

Articles in the latest issue of Cityscape, an official publication of the Office of Policy Development and Research (PDR) for the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), are devoted to the use of testing to investigate contemporary housing discrimination.  The publication is available online at http://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/cityscpe/vol17num3/Cityscape_November_2015.pdf.

One article from the current issue of Cityscape, entitled Changing Contexts and New Directions for the Use of Testing, includes insights gleaned from recent investigations conducted by the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC).  The article was co-authored by FHJC Executive Director Fred Freiberg and Dr. Gregory D. Squires, a professor of sociology and of public policy and public administration at George Washington University (GWU).  The article is available at http://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/cityscpe/vol17num3/ch3.pdf.