The Long Island Housing Services (LIHS) settlement of a Source of Income and Disability Discrimination complaint against Coldwell Banker Easton Properties originated with an investigation of New Highway Apartments. Easton Properties is located in North Babylon, New York.
In 2018, LIHS received multiple allegations of source of income and disability discrimination against New Highway Apartments in Copiague, NY. During the investigation, LIHS believed that the New Highway Apartments had contracted with Coldwell Banker Easton Properties to rent their apartment units to prospective tenants. This caused LIHS to also investigate and test Coldwell Banker Easton Properties for source of income and disability discrimination.
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.
Long Island Housing Services’ 2018 testing and investigation of Coldwell Banker Easton Properties revealed evidence that testers posing as persons having Housing Choice vouchers and disabilities allegedly were not able to make appointments to see the property and were told that the property was privately owned, not state run. In comparison, evidence revealed that testers without a disability or alternative source of income were granted the right to make an appointment to view the available housing and were informed of available housing.
In 2020, LIHS settled the case against New Highway Apartments for source of income and disability discrimination.
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, New York State Human Rights Law, Nassau County Human Rights Law and Suffolk County Human Rights Law prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.
Further, New York State, Nassau County, and Suffolk County Human Rights Laws 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 include adopting a non-discriminatory fair housing policy; a reasonable accommodation policy; reasonable modification policy; and a source of income policy. In the settlement agreement, Coldwell Banker Easton Properties also agreed to provide two fair housing trainings to their employees and agents as well as display fair housing signs or notices.
“Based on our experience of the last few years, we have found that disability and source of income discrimination is prevalent in Long Island,” said Ian Wilder, LIHS Executive Director. “Individuals with alternative sources of income (e.g. housing vouchers) or persons having a disability have difficulty in obtaining reliable housing in Long Island. Property owners often refuse to rent to applicants who are disabled and refuse to accept lawful sources of income that are not from employment. This refusal is illegal and discriminatory and we are committed to the continued enforcement of fair housing laws.”
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.