The New York state Assembly this week approved a package of bills meant to curtail discrimination in the real estate industry, several of which will be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk for his approval before becoming law.
The bills include efforts to crack down on discrimination against prospective homebuyers who are people of color, addressing a long-standing concern that has led to defacto segregation in many communities.
The measures address training for realtors as well as efforts to hold the industry more accountable.
“The Assembly Majority has long been committed to ensuring that every New Yorker has equitable access to housing,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “Housing discrimination has evolved since the fair housing movement, but it is still disturbingly pervasive and damaging to New Yorkers. Discrimination that was once overt has become more implicit and subtle, and this legislation will help us address it head on.”
One bill would require real estate brokers to create a standardized operating procedure and practices to ensure homebuyers who treated equitability. Lawmakers also approved a bill that would require state housing agencies and local housing officials that receive state funds to identify segregation in communities and work to end it.
And lawmakers approved a measure that would fund fair housing efforts by implementing a surcharge on licensing fees for brokers and real estate agents. The measure would add a $30 fee to a broker's license and a $10 fee for a real estate license. The money wold be used for testing and monitoring of discrimination.
“We must work as a state to overcome historic patterns of discrimination and segregation,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, the House Committee chairman. “By creating an obligation to affirmatively further fair housing for all state agencies and localities administering housing-related programs and laws, New York will no longer participate in harmful and discriminatory practices, and will instead actively seek to create more diverse and inclusive communities.”