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New regulations announced to prevent housing discrimination in New York

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced new regulations for real estate professionals to help combat housing discrimination.

The new regulations, which the New York State Real Estate Board approved on Monday, mandate enhanced disclosures by real estate professionals to help ensure prospective home buyers, renters, sellers and landlords receive ample information about their rights and protections under New York State law.

“Housing discrimination is completely unacceptable and it’s also against the law. New York State is taking immediate action to help ensure renters and homeowners are protected from any and all discriminatory actions when it comes to safe, accessible housing,” Governor Cuomo said. “These new regulations and protocols will help ensure anyone looking to rent or buy a home knows their rights so they don’t fall prey to unscrupulous real estate brokers and landlords.”

On November 21, Governor Cuomo directed the Department of State, in consultation with the Division of Human Rights, to issue new regulations as one of several steps to combat housing discrimination in response to a Newsday report on housing discrimination on Long Island.

The new regulations require the following:

  • Notification of Fair Housing laws. Real estate brokers will be responsible for ensuring that each licensed professional working under their supervision provides a disclosure on fair housing and the New York State Human Rights Law to prospective home buyers, renters, sellers, and landlords. The disclosure, to be furnished by the Department of State, must be given to the prospective party via email, text, facsimile, hardcopy, or other electronic messaging service. The disclosure must also be available at every open house or real estate showing conducted by a real estate professional.
  • Posting of Fair Housing laws. Real estate brokers must display and maintain at every office and branch a notice highlighting the Human Rights Law’s protections regarding housing accommodations and how consumers can file complaints. The notice must be visible from the sidewalk or another conspicuous place.  The notice must also be prominently displayed on all websites created and maintained by real estate brokers, real estate salespersons and real estate teams. This notice must also be posted at every open house conducted by a real estate professional.
  • Video recording and record preservation. Every entity approved to provide instruction pertaining to fair housing and/or discrimination in the sale or rental of real property or an interest in real property, must record video and audio of the instruction for every course in its entirety. The approved entity is required to keep the recording for one year following the date the course was delivered.

Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The Department of State takes all acts of discrimination seriously and works vigorously to enforce the Fair Housing Act as it relates to real estate professionals. These new regulations not only make it clear that discrimination will not be tolerated, they will also help New Yorkers better understand their rights when looking for a place to call home.”

Division of Human Rights Commissioner Angela Fernandez said, “The Division of Human Rights will vigorously enforce the new regulations as they relate to the real estate industry. All New Yorkers have the right to live free from discrimination and the Division will use every resource at its disposal to ensure fair housing opportunity for all.”

Per New York State rule making procedures, the new regulations will be published in the New York State Register for a public comment period of 60 days.

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