State Senate Majority advances legislative package to combat housing discrimination in NY

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Model homes and for sale signs line the streets as construction continues at a housing plan in Zelienople, Pa., Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The New York State Senate Majority advanced major legislation on Monday to continue addressing house discrimination affecting many in the State.

According to the State Senate, this legislative package was created following two public hearings on housing discrimination that included 25 subpoenas and responds to the Senate Majority’s 97-page investigative report on fair housing and discrimination.

The bills will help implement fair housing practices, implicit bias training, compensatory relief to victims of housing discrimination, create an anti-discrimination housing fund and increase required training.

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart- Cousins commented on the new legislative package.

“There is no place in New York for housing discrimination and predatory practices,” said Stewart-Cousins. “Buying a new home should be a special achievement in a person’s life without the risk of becoming victim of abhorrent discrimination.”

The legislation advanced on Monday, February 8, includes the following:

  • Annual Covert Fair Housing Testing: Senate Bill S.112, requires the attorney general to conduct annual covert fair housing testing to assess compliance with fair housing laws
  • Implicit Bis Training: Senate Bill S.538B, requires real estate brokers and salespersons to receive implicit bias training as a part of their license renewal process
  • Compensatory Damages: Senate Bill S.715, compels the Commissioner of the Division of Human Rights to award compensatory damages, punitive damages or other relief to victims of housing discrimination
  • Anti-Discrimination Housing Fund: Senate Bill S.1353, establishes the State’s Obligation to “Affirmatively Further Fair Housing;” directing the commissioner and heads of all housing agencies to establish and administer housing programs in a man that affirmatively further fair housing
  • Identify Brokers: Senate Bill S.1448, requires that real estate salesperson and real estate brokers licensed by the Department of State legibly write their name and license number whenever required to sign a document to make it easier to identify brokers
  • Increases Required Training: Senate Bill S.2132B, requires additional testing and training for initial licensing of brokers and salespeople, including the specific course on fair housing laws the legacy of segregation and anti-bias training and requires licensing course faculty to certify that curriculum complies with Department of State regulations
  • Standardized Client Procedures: Senate Bill S.2131A, requires standardized client intake procedures for real estate brokers
  • Surcharge Fee: Senate Bill S.2133A, adds a surcharge to the fee paid for issuing or reissuing a real estate broker or salesmen license and directs the new funds to be used for fair housing testing by the Attorney General
  • Statutory Obligations of Oversight: Senate Bill S.2157A, requires associate real estate brokers serving as real estate officer managers to exercise supervision over other associate brokers and real estate salesmen
  • Client Demographic Data: Senate Bill S.2525A, requires real estate brokers to compile client demographic data and submit it to the secretary of state

This legislation package was officially announced to the public on Monday, February 8, 2021.

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