Long Island Housing Services, Inc. today announced a settlement agreement that requires a Long Island landlord to adopt a written policy of non-discrimination and policies for reasonable accommodations for persons with disability with service animals and emotional support animals, along with providing fair housing training to its staff.
Ian Wilder, Executive Director of Long Island Housing Services notes:
Although Suffolk County’s Human Rights Law has outlawed discrimination on the basis of Source of Income since 2015, there is rampant, though rarely reported, discrimination against renters with Section 8 vouchers, subsidies from the Department of Social Services, Social Security Disability, and other lawful sources of income. We are pleased with these settlements which provide injunctive relief and provisions that will serve the public interest.
All are encouraged to report suspected violations. Call Long Island Housing Services to consult or report: 631-567-5111 ext. 312 or email: Info@LIFairHousing.org.
The settlement agreement resolves complaints filed with the New York State Division of Human Rights (“NYSDHR”) and Suffolk County Commission on Human Rights (“SCHR”) against BEA Properties, LLC (BEA), a real estate operator of properties within Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Long Island Housing Services alleged violations of the federal Fair Housing Act and the local Suffolk County Human Rights Law.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, sex, and familial status. The Suffolk County Human Rights Law also prohibits discrimination on the basis of Veteran’s Status, Status as a Victim of Domestic Violence and a person’s Source of Income whether derived from employment, Veteran’s Benefits, child support, alimony, Social Security Disability, subsidy/rental assistance programs, such as section 8 (Housing Choice Voucher Program), or public assistance.
After receiving an allegation of disability discrimination, Long Island Housing Services conducted an investigation of BEA Properties LLC. Long Island Housing Services testing of the treatment of rental applicants provided sufficient proof to file a complaint against BEA Properties LLC for engaging in Disability and Source of Income discrimination.
The terms of the resulting settlement from the Long Island Housing Services complaint include affirmative relief provisions, beyond the BEA Properties LLC obligations to follow the fair housing laws in the future. The settlement requires BEA:
- to adopt a non-discrimination policy to be distributed to employees and superintendents at buildings they manage who have responsibility for showing apartments, processing apartments, renting apartments, and/or managing and maintaining rental housing;
- to provide fair housing training for those employees and superintendents, as well as for owners; and
- to adopt written policies for responding to requests for reasonable accommodations regarding service and emotional support animals.
The settlement also provides monetary compensation to Long Island Housing Services for its costs.
The Fair Housing enforcement and advocacy work of Long Island Housing Services is supported through grants from the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (“FHIP”) of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (“HUD”) and from the Suffolk County Office of Housing and Community Development (“OHCD”), which provides support for Long Island Housing Services’ housing counseling and fair housing efforts with federal pass-through funds of HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program.
Founded in 1969, Long Island Housing Services, Inc. is a private, nonprofit HUD-qualified Fair Housing Enforcement Organization and a federally certified, approved Housing Counseling agency. Long Island Housing Services’ mission is the elimination of unlawful discrimination and promotion of decent and affordable housing through advocacy and education.
# # #