Three NY real estate firms fined after apartment bias probe

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ALBANY — State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has reached deals with three major real estate firms to stop what he claimed was the illegal denial of apartments to people on public housing assistance, the Daily News has learned.

In settlements to be announced Monday, the three firms agreed to pay fines ranging from $13,000 to $40,000 and implement new management and training procedures to safeguard against future discrimination, officials said.

The agreements involve Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Empire State Equities and Crifasi Real Estate, which together manage and market hundreds of apartments across the city and in Nassau and Westchester counties.

“Turning away individuals from an apartment based on a lawful source of income is a blatant form of discrimination,” Schneiderman said.

“Everyone deserves a fair shot at renting an apartment in New York — especially during a time when many are struggling to find affordable housing,” he added.

In a statement, a spokesman for Douglas Elliman said the company “does not and will not condone discrimination in any form and fully cooperated with the attorney general in its investigation.”

Officials at the other companies either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comments. As part of the settlements, the firms neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.

According to the settlements, employees from both Crifasi and Douglas Elliman told undercover operatives from Schneiderman’s office that government subsidies would not be accepted at certain apartments listed for rent.


Complete article available at NY Daily News.