Real estate brokers could have their licenses revoked for discrimination during the home buying process under a measure expected to be approved later today by the state Senate.
The bill backed by Sen. Jim Gaughran would apply the state's Human Rights Law to the real estate industry, which bars housing discrimination.
The measure is being considered in response to a Newsday investigation published last year that found discrimination among realtors when it came to home buying for white clients and people of color.
The story displayed how in many communities -- often suburban towns, cities and villages -- a form of defacto segregation in housing continues.
The measure includes penalties that range of suspending or yanking licenses for brokers and sales people in real estate or issuing fines.
“Housing discrimination and predatory practices will not be tolerated in New York,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said.
“By advancing this legislation, the Senate Majority is sending a clear message that you will be held accountable for engaging in unfair, discriminatory, and racist housing practices. I applaud Senator Gaughran for sponsoring this legislation and continuing the Senate Majority’s commitment to equal and fair access to housing for all New Yorkers.”
Real estate brokers can be fined under nebulous complaints like "untrustworthiness" but there is no explicit statute for discrimination in the homebuying process.
“This legislation will ensure that real estate agents who violate New York's Human Rights Law by 'steering' minority families towards certain communities, or other racist practices that deny individuals the dignity of choosing their home and neighborhood, face license revocation," Gaughran said. "Our nation's soul is in crisis and public officials must speak out against racism and end segregation and discrimination in our society, once and for all."