Race Discrimination Complaint Settled with Farmingdale Apartment Complex
As reported in Newsday, systemic testing and investigation by Long Island Housing Services, Inc. (LIHS) revealed that a Farmingdale, NY apartment complex was discriminating against African Americans. Several of LIHS’ African American testers were informed by the 266-unit, age 55-and-older Farmingdale complex that there was a long waiting list and that there were no available apartment units for rent. However, LIHS’ White Testers were told that there were several upcoming available rental units and White Testers were not informed that there was a long waiting list for an apartment. LIHS’ investigation revealed that Farmingdale Villas continually provided false information regarding rental units’ availability to African American testers.
As part of Long Island Housing Services, Inc.’s mission to end segregation, it monitors housing industry practices for discrimination. Farmingdale Villas LLC owns the apartment complex tested by LIHS and found to be discriminating against African Americans.
Based upon its testing evidence and investigation, Long Island Housing Services Inc. filed a complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding the findings of the race discrimination by Farmingdale Villas. Racial discrimination is prohibited by the federal Fair Housing Act, New York State Human Rights Law, Nassau County Human Rights Law and Suffolk County Human Rights Law.
After negotiation, Long Island Housing Services and Farmingdale Villas reached a settlement agreement that includes a requirement that Farmingdale Villas to set up a $10,000.00 Compensation Fund and will maintain the said fund for three years. The Compensation Fund will be used to compensate individuals who have been denied housing at Farmingdale Villas due to race or individuals who received misinformation about housing because of race. Farmingdale Villas must advertise the Compensation Fund in Farmingdale Observer and local media sources with general distribution in Farmingdale. Individuals who may have been discriminated based on race by Farmingdale Villas can fill out a Claim Form provided by Farmingdale Villas, which will be subsequently forwarded to HUD. Long Island Housing Services, Inc. and Farmingdale Villas also agreed to settle for $25,000.00 in monetary damages.
“Long Island’s history racial discrimination and segregation continues into the present. African Americans are still excluded from purchasing home or renting apartments in predominantly White communities on Long Island,” Ian Wilder, Executive Director of Long Island Housing Services, Inc. stated. “Numerous Studies and testing have shown time and again that real estate agents and landlords often steer the African Americans to areas that governmental discrimination have designated as acceptable for the majority of the population to be African American or Hispanic. Long Island Housing Services has been battling housing racial segregation since 1969 and will continue fighting equal access to the American Dream in 2020.”
“We all have the right to choose our own zip code regardless of a person’s race or color. It’s the law,” stated Marian D. Reid, Deputy Director of Long Island Housing Services, Inc.
“The color of a person’s skin shouldn’t determine whether they have the opportunity to obtain a place to live,” said Anna María Farías, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “That type of discriminatory treatment is unacceptable, and today’s settlement reaffirms HUD’s commitment to taking appropriate action when housing providers violate the law.”
People who believe that they have experienced housing discrimination in Nassau or Suffolk Counties, can contact Long Island Housing Services at 631-567-5111 ext. 375 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Si usted cree que ha sido discriminado al buscar una vivienda, por favor llame a los Servicios de Vivienda de Long Island al 631-567-5111 ext. 378 para hablar con un investigador capacitado en equidad de vivienda. También puede escribirnos al correo electrónico info@LIFairHousing.org.
Additional Fair Housing Relief
In the settlement agreement Farmingdale Villas also agrees to compliance monitoring by Long Island Housing Services, for the term of two (2) years from the date of the execution of the settlement. As part of the mandatory compliance monitoring, LIHS may analyze and assess Farmingdale Villas’ website(s), advertisements, fair housing practices, and review Farmingdale Villas’ non-discriminatory policies. If there are any findings or potential issues of housing discrimination, LIHS will inform HUD and then Farmingdale Villas will be given thirty days to address the discriminatory act.
Farmingdale Villas also agrees to provide three (3) fair housing trainings to all of its employees involved in the apartment rental process. The fair housing training will be conducted one per year for three consecutive years. They will be educated on the basics of federal, state, and local fair housing laws.
Additionally, Farmingdale Villas will be required to prominently display the Equal Housing Opportunity logo at the office and all of their real estate related document. Farmingdale Villas must maintain a non-discrimination policy that requires all staff involved in the apartment rental process to comply with federal, state, and local fair housing laws.
Farmingdale Villas also agrees to include a statement on its real estate documents that Farmingdale Villas does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status. This statement will include contact information for Long Island Housing Services, Inc. or US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Farmingdale Villas agrees to amend its rental application to include the “equal housing opportunity” logo and the following statements: “We are committed to equal housing opportunity. We do not discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability (physical or mental), familial status, or creed.” and “If you feel that you may have been discriminated against by a landlord, housing manager/superintendent, any employees, broker or agents of the landlord or real estate broker/agent, you have the right to contact: Long Island Housing Services, Inc., 640 John Avenue, Suite 8, Bohemia, NY 11716; Telephone Number: (631) 567-5111; Website: www.lifairhousing.org.”
- Conciliation Agreement between Long Island Housing Services (LIHS) and Farmingdale Villas, LLC,
- HUD press release about the Conciliation Agreement
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 Fair Housing Initiatives Program of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and from the Nassau County Office of Housing and Community Development, which provides support for LIHS’ housing counseling and fair housing efforts with federal pass-through funds of HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program.