Long Island Housing Services (LIHS) settled a housing discrimination complaint on the basis Source of Income, Familial Status, and Age Discrimination against Kennedy Realty, Inc. Kennedy Realty, Inc. is a real estate company with an office in Islip, New York.
In 2020, LIHS received an allegation of source of income discrimination against Kennedy Realty Inc. As part of the investigation, LIHS’ testers posed as ordinary home seekers to document the treatment they experienced in order for LIHS to determine compliance with fair housing laws.
LIHS’ testing and investigation revealed evidence that testers posing as persons having a Housing Choice voucher allegedly were told that the landlord was not accepting any programs, including Section 8 Housing Vouchers. In comparison, testers without an alternative source of income were allegedly able to make an appointment to view the available housing. During the investigation, Respondents also allegedly made multiple discriminatory statements regarding prospective tenants with minor children and younger prospective tenants. A difference of treatment based on the protected classes of source of income, familial status, and age is illegal housing discrimination protected under fair housing and human rights laws.
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
The federal Fair Housing act prohibits discrimination based on familial status. The law against housing discrimination based on familial status protects any person who is pregnant or has a child or is in the process of securing legal custody of any child under age of eighteen years old. In addition, it includes anyone under the age of eighteen years old living with their parent, someone with legal custody, or the parent’s designee.
In addition to prohibiting housing discrimination based on familial status, the Human Rights Laws of New York State, Suffolk County, and Nassau County prohibit discrimination based on age and lawful source of income.
Source of income discrimination occurs under New York State and County law 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.
Age discrimination in housing involves treating persons in an unequal manner due to their age. For example, a housing provider that denies housing to an applicant based on the applicant’s age (over 18), is illegal housing discrimination under New York State and County law.
Reinforcing Fair Housing Rights
After negotiation with Kennedy Realty, Inc., the parties reached a settlement agreement, including, policy changes that include their adopting a non-discriminatory fair housing policy, displaying compliance with fair housing laws, and providing fair housing training to their employees and agents.
“It is important that all housing providers, including real estate agencies, have fair housing policies in place that signal to their agents and clients how they follow the law. In addition, having regular fair housing training will help agents explore how to put into practice those written values. Lastly, have visual reminders such as displaying fair housing logos reinforce an anti-discrimination mindset daily. All of these fair housing elements are steps that will inform the public that the housing providers are adding value to the services provided,” said Ian Wilder, LIHS Executive Director.
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. The Fair Housing enforcement and advocacy work is also supported by the Suffolk County Office of Housing and Community Development and Town of Islip 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.
The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.