Long Island Real Estate Companies Settle Housing Claims, Commit to Law Compliance, and Strengthen Education

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“These investigations have revealed a pervasive culture that permits unlawful discrimination and violations of every New Yorker’s right to fair housing,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a press release announcing the settlement.

The settlements require Keller Williams Greater Nassau and Keller Williams Realty Elite to pay Suffolk County $25,000 for fair housing law enforcement efforts, and an additional $25,000 for fair housing training for its officers.

A third company, Laffey Real Estate, is to pay Suffolk County $35,000 and the state $30,000 to conduct fair housing tests without notice. The company is also required to create an online form so that sellers and buyers can report possible acts of discrimination.

The Attorney General’s office is conducting a separate investigation into another real estate brokerage.

“With these actions, we are delivering a strong message: New York State has zero tolerance for discrimination,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a press release.

A receptionist at Keller Williams Greater Nassau said no one was available to talk about the terms of the settlement, while calls to Keller Williams Realty Elite and Laffey Real Estate went unanswered.

Long Island is ranked among the most segregated areas in the country. During his investigation, which lasted three years, news day found that 40% of black, Hispanic, and Asian testers received disparate treatment compared to white testers posing as homebuyers.

“Black testers experienced disparate treatment 49% of the time, compared to 39% for Hispanic testers and 19% for Asian testers,” according to news day.

In one case, news day reported, a Keller Williams Realty agent told a tester posing as a black client that Brentwood, a predominantly Hispanic and black neighborhood, was filled with “the nicest people.”

However, the same agent warned a tester posing as a white customer, “please research gang-related events in this area for security reasons”, referring to multiple MS-13 related killings in the piece.

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