According to the State Senate, this legislative package was created following two public hearings on housing discrimination that included 25 subpoenas and responds to the Senate Majority’s 97-page investigative report on fair housing and discrimination.
The bills will help implement fair housing practices, implicit bias training, compensatory relief to victims of housing discrimination, create an anti-discrimination housing fund and increase required training.
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart- Cousins commented on the new legislative package.
“There is no place in New York for housing discrimination and predatory practices,” said Stewart-Cousins. “Buying a new home should be a special achievement in a person’s life without the risk of becoming victim of abhorrent discrimination.”
This legislative package, officially announced to the public on Monday, includes:
- Annual Covert Fair Housing Testing: Senate Bill S.112, requires the attorney general to conduct annual covert fair housing testing to assess compliance with fair housing laws
- Implicit Bis Training: Senate Bill S.538B, requires real estate brokers and salespersons to receive implicit bias training as a part of their license renewal process
- Compensatory Damages: Senate Bill S.715, compels the Commissioner of the Division of Human Rights to award compensatory damages, punitive damages or other relief to victims of housing discrimination
- Anti-Discrimination Housing Fund: Senate Bill S.1353, establishes the State’s Obligation to “Affirmatively Further Fair Housing;” directing the commissioner and heads of all housing agencies to establish and administer housing programs in a man that affirmatively further fair housing
- Identify Brokers: Senate Bill S.1448, requires that real estate salesperson and real estate brokers licensed by the Department of State legibly write their name and license number whenever required to sign a document to make it easier to identify brokers
- Increases Required Training: Senate Bill S.2132B, requires additional testing and training for initial licensing of brokers and salespeople, including the specific course on fair housing laws the legacy of segregation and anti-bias training and requires licensing course faculty to certify that curriculum complies with Department of State regulations
- Standardized Client Procedures: Senate Bill S.2131A, requires standardized client intake procedures for real estate brokers
- Surcharge Fee: Senate Bill S.2133A, adds a surcharge to the fee paid for issuing or reissuing a real estate broker or salesmen license and directs the new funds to be used for fair housing testing by the Attorney General
- Statutory Obligations of Oversight: Senate Bill S.2157A, requires associate real estate brokers serving as real estate officer managers to exercise supervision over other associate brokers and real estate salesmen
- Client Demographic Data: Senate Bill S.2525A, requires real estate brokers to compile client demographic data and submit it to the secretary of state