Residential brokers and sales agents are bracing for this Sunday’s story in Long Island’s daily newspaper on alleged violations of fair housing laws.
Sources say dozens of real estate agents for major area brokerage firms have been caught up in a multi-year Newsday investigation, aimed at uncovering fair-housing transgressions. The Long Island Times first wrote about the upcoming story in July for Trade Winds.
Beginning in 2016, Newsday sent “testers” posing as potential homebuyers to real estate offices throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.
In many of the cases, a white “homebuyer” would tell an agent his or her requirements (price range, proximity to the train, etc.), and be followed a few weeks later by a person of color with similar criteria to see whether the agent would steer them to different neighborhoods. The encounters were secretly videotaped.
Brokers say the methodology used by Newsday was flawed because testers’ requirements were not identical. Testing for fair housing violations is typically initiated by the Department of State or nonprofit housing organizations. For more information about fair housing laws or filing a housing discrimination complaint, visit the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.