Attorney General James Stops Real Estate Company Compass from Denying Housing to Low-Income New Yorkers

Johnnie Pratt
Attorney General James Stops Real Estate Company Compass from Denying Housing to Low-Income New Yorkers

Compass Agents told Tenants with Housing Vouchers They Could Not Apply for Condominium Listings 

AG James’ Next Motion this Week to Protect New Yorkers from Housing Discrimination

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James attained an arrangement with true estate brokerage, Compass Inc. (Compass), to defend small-profits tenants. The Place of work of the Lawyer Normal (OAG), with assistance from the Housing Legal rights Initiative (HRI), found that Compass serious estate agents refused to approach rental applications from minimal-revenue tenants in Manhattan since they had a Section 8 voucher, a violation of New York’s guidelines that secure tenants against supply of money discrimination. Underneath New York legislation, a lawful source of revenue for housing incorporates any type of federal, state, or neighborhood housing assistance, like Portion 8 vouchers. As a outcome of today’s settlement, Compass is expected to waive any broker charges for the initially 25 applicants with Segment 8 vouchers, update its staff trainings, and article signage that they acknowledge housing support vouchers.

“Landlords and brokers who deny housing to tenants since of their resource of earnings are exacerbating the housing crisis,” mentioned Legal professional General James. “No tenant need to be turned away from an condominium because they have a housing voucher. This arrangement will make sure that Compass does not near its doorway on New Yorkers who are only searching for a spot to simply call household. My office environment will keep on having action to shield New Yorkers from unfair housing methods and hold these violating the law accountable.”

Govt-issued rental vouchers, this sort of as the Portion 8 Housing Decision Voucher (HCV) application, present housing guidance to the lowest revenue households in New York to hire or order respectable, risk-free housing in the personal housing sector. These packages also aid senior citizens and disabled people on mounted incomes, displaced families, and homeless people with disabilities.

In December 2021, OAG, primarily based on information and facts supplied by HRI, opened an investigation into no matter whether Compass agents discriminated in opposition to likely tenants simply because they experienced housing aid vouchers. Compass agents allegedly explained to them that the residence house owners, in the Manhattan neighborhoods of Hell’s Kitchen area and the Upper East Side, would not settle for their rental programs simply because of the applicants’ intention to use Portion 8 vouchers. City and state rules prohibit homeowners, landlords, assets administrators, and rental brokers from refusing to acknowledge possible tenants entirely mainly because they acquire lawful housing aid.

As a outcome of today’s arrangement, Compass will not charge brokerage fees for the very first 25 candidates who use utilizing a federal HCV via a Compass listing or agent and will notify nearby community housing authorities about these waivers. Additionally, to incentivize its genuine estate product sales workers to acknowledge candidates with housing vouchers, the agreement involves Compass to spend its agents 90 percent of the broker commission if a tenant with HCV is acknowledged into an apartment.

The settlement also demands Compass to overview its training components and consider measures to assure its brokers are aware they simply cannot reject candidates who use rental support courses and that applicants employing these kinds of packages cannot be subject matter to profits or credit rating score needs. Compass need to also submit symptoms in all community-facing New York workplaces indicating that they accept Part 8 vouchers and other rental support.

“Present day settlement with one particular of the premier serious estate firms is an critical action to ending prevalent housing discrimination and defending vulnerable tenants in New York,” explained Aaron Carr, Founder and Govt Director of Housing Rights Initiative. “Denying housing to tenants just for the reason that they have a housing voucher is not only unlawful, but also inhumane. I thank Lawyer Normal James and her staff for everything they do to protect tenants and taxpayers.” 

“It is shameful for any landlord or brokerage to deny great-religion tenants apartments, specially in today’s housing crisis,” explained Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “Thank you to Attorney Common James for forcefully reminding the genuine estate business that housing discrimination will not be tolerated in New York. New Yorkers deserve much better than housing help-in-name-only, and this settlement underscores that no tenant can be denied housing on the foundation of their use of federal, state, or community housing help vouchers.”

“Discrimination versus tenants based mostly on their use of a rental aid voucher is not just immoral it’s unlawful,” mentioned New York Town Council Member Erik Bottcher. “Fortunately New Yorkers have Attorney Typical Letitia James seeing their again. I’m grateful to Legal professional Standard James and her group for making certain that no sort of discrimination is allowed in our point out.”

“Real estate brokers that violate income discrimination legislation by refusing to approach rental applications involving housing support vouchers will be held accountable,” stated New York Metropolis Council Member Julie Menin. “Our metropolis is heading as a result of an very affordable housing disaster and it’s unconscionable to routinely reject lower-profits candidates. I applaud Attorney Common Letitia James for investigating discrimination versus likely tenants.”

This settlement is part of Lawyer Typical James’ ongoing efforts to shield tenants from resource of income discrimination where by she is partnering with nearby organizations, together with HRI. Previously this 7 days, Attorney Common James sued an Ithaca landlord for denying housing to very low-cash flow tenants.

This matter was managed by Assistant Legal professional Basic Matthew Eubank of the Brooklyn Regional Office environment, Assistant Lawyer Typical Jane Landry-Reyes of the Housing Security Device, and Assistant Attorney Standard Joe Marrero of the Civil Rights Bureau. The Brooklyn Regional Workplace is led by Assistant Lawyer Typical in Demand Michael Barbosa and is component of the Division of Regional Affairs, which is led by Deputy Attorney Basic Jill Faber. The Housing Defense Unit is led by Chief Brent Meltzer. Both the Housing Protection Device and the Civil Legal rights Bureau are section of the Division of Social Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney Standard Meghan Fake. The Division of Regional Affairs and the Division of Social Justice are overseen by Initial Deputy Legal professional General Jennifer Levy.

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