Division of Human Rights, Division of Homes and Community Renewal and Department of State to Launch Joint Investigation into Reports of Widespread Housing Discrimination on Long Island
State Will Launch a Broad Social Media and Awareness Campaign and Hotline to Increase the Number of Complaints Received by State Agencies
Department of State Will Issue New Regulations Mandating Enhanced Real Estate Professional Disclosures and Info Sharing
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed the Division of Human Rights, the Division of Homes and Community Renewal and Department of State to launch a joint investigation into reports of widespread discrimination among real estate agents on Long Island. On November 17, Newsday reported the results of an undercover investigation into housing discrimination on Long Island. The probe's deeply troubling findings include evidence suggesting real estate agents on Long Island engage in discriminatory conduct with disturbing frequency—including imposing unequal conditions and steering clients toward certain neighborhoods depending on their perceived race or ethnicity.
Governor Cuomo also announced several additional resources to combat housing discrimination across New York State. These initiatives include: launching a comprehensive social media campaign and housing discrimination hotline to raise awareness and give individuals a dedicated contact point to file complaints; and new Department of State regulations to mandate enhanced real estate professional disclosures and info sharing on Fair Housing to prospective home buyers and renters.
"New York State does not tolerate discrimination of any kind, especially when it comes to an individual's right to safe, affordable housing," Governor Cuomo said. "While we have already made significant strides, new reports about alleged housing discrimination across Long Island are deeply disconcerting and require immediate action. As such, I am directing State agencies to commence an investigation into discriminatory real estate practices on Long Island. In addition, State agencies will release new regulations, protocols and other information to further protect renters and homeowners against unlawful and discriminatory treatment. These initiatives are critical to continuing our efforts to create a truly accessible and inclusive New York State."
The Governor's announcement will include the following components:
Joint Division of Human Rights, Division of Homes and Community Renewal and Department of State Investigation
The Division of Human Rights, which enforces New York State anti-discrimination laws, the Division of Homes and Community Renewal, which builds, preserves and protects affordable housing, and the Department of State, which issues licenses to real estate professionals, will investigate the allegations from the Newsday reporting that real estate agents unlawfully steered clients towards certain neighborhoods and engaged in other discriminatory conduct.
Social Media Awareness Campaign and Hotline
The Department of State and the Divisions of Human Rights and Homes and Community Renewal will launch a public education campaign designed to educate New Yorkers about their fair housing rights and protections. As part of this campaign, which will include social media messaging, consumer alerts and related initiatives, the Division of Human Rights is launching a new hotline - 844-862-8703 - available starting today where individuals can call with complaints and receive guidance about their fair housing rights.
Department of State Regulations
The Department of State, in consultation with the Division of Human Rights, will issue new regulations that will provide for enhanced disclosures by real estate professionals to ensure that prospective home buyers and renters receive increased information about their rights and protections under New York State law.