Long Island Housing Services, Inc. (LIHS) initiated an investigation in 2019 against Brookwood Communities after allegations from prospective renters that the complex was imposing a discriminatory minimum income policy to applicants with housing vouchers. LIHS’ analysis of its testing and investigation presented sufficient evidence to file a complaint with New York State Division of Human Rights that alleged that Brookwood and its owner, Campbird Management, appeared to be discriminating against individuals with housing vouchers. Campbird operates Brookwood multi-family rental apartment complexes in Ridge, Islip, Holbrook, Sayville, Oakdale, and Bay Shore.
People who believe that they have experienced housing discrimination in Nassau or Suffolk Counties, can contact Long Island Housing Services, Inc. at 631-567-5111 ext. 375. Hablamos Español 631-567-5111 Ext. 378 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fair Housing Investigation
Testing results revealed that prospective renters with Housing Vouchers were told that they needed a minimum income of 2.75 times the rent. LIHS tester with a Housing Voucher was told that a minimum income policy of 2.75 times the rent would be applied to everyone, including individuals with Housing Vouchers.
New York State Human Rights Law states that a minimum income policy cannot be enforced against individuals with Housing Vouchers. For example, the prospective renter with an Housing Choice Voucher (commonly known as “Section 8”) would be required to have a monthly income of $5,500 for a rental of $2,000 a month.. New York State Guidance on Protections from Source of Income Discrimination in Housing states that housing providers cannot use facially neutral income requirement policy that has a negative impact on low income and housing choice voucher holders. “Unreasonable wealth requirements could exclude everyone with a voucher and negate the intended protections of the law.”
New York State, Suffolk and Nassau County Human Rights Laws all prohibit discrimination based on a lawful source of income. Source of income discrimination occurs when a housing provider refuses to accept a lawful source of income, including, but not limited to, Supplemental Social Income (SSI), Social Security Disability (SSD), Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, Nursing Home Transition and Diversion (NHTD) Housing Subsidy, Olmstead Housing Subsidy (OHS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Medicaid Waiver program, or child support.
Reinforcing Fair Housing Rights
After negotiation, the parties reached a settlement agreement, including policy changes that adopt a non-discriminatory fair housing policy and a source of income policy. In the settlement agreement, Brookwood also agreed to provide fair housing training to their employees and revise their website to include a statement of supporting fair housing laws.
“Unfortunately, we have seen other Long Island multi-family rental apartment developments failing to obey source of income laws,” said Ian Wilder, Executive Director of Long Island Housing Services. “Similar to the hard look that New York State took at the regulation of real estate agents, our municipalities need to put in place education and policy requirements for multi-family developments. We are way past the time for policy changes and education requirements only to be instituted on a one-by-one basis only after an investigation and complaint. Long Island Housing Services calls on our elected officials to be proactive in ensuring that housing providers are obeying the law and our fellow Long Islanders are not wrongfully hampered in their ability to obtain a place to live.”
Brookwood also agreed to settle with Long Island Housing Services for $16,000 and with each for two individual complainants in monetary damages for $12,000.
Founded in 1969, Long Island Housing Services’ mission is the elimination of unlawful discrimination and promotion of decent and affordable housing through advocacy and education LIHS is a private, nonprofit HUD-qualified Fair Housing Enforcement Organization and a federally certified, approved Housing Counseling agency. (www.LIFairHousing.org)
The fair housing enforcement and advocacy work of LIHS is supported through grants from the HUD federal pass-through Community Development Block Grants from the Town of Brookhaven and the Town of Islip.
- Settlement reached in renter income discrimination dispute, Long Island Business News, August 8, 2022
- Brookwood Apartments reaches $40G fair housing settlement, Newsday, August 12, 2022