Cuomo adds new housing regulations
by: Nick Muscavage, Albany Bureau
ALBANY – New York is bolstering efforts to prevent discrimination in rental and housing sales.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state Division of Human Rights and the Department of State are pursuing new regulations to strengthen housing enforcement efforts in the state.
“These actions will hold housing providers accountable – and we will not hesitate to crack down on those who break the law,” Cuomo said in a statement Sunday. “We will do everything we can to root out discrimination where it shows its ugly presence in order to create stronger and more inclusive communities statewide.”
The fair housing enforcement program will comprise three housing agencies partnered with the state. These include Housing Opportunities Made Equal in Buffalo; CNY Fair Housing in Syracuse; and Westchester Opportunities in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties.
Under the program, there will be “testers,” or people representing different economic, gender and racial backgrounds going undercover as potential renters or home seekers to check for discrimination. The testers will also include people representing potential renters with disabilities.
The way that landlords and sellers treat the testers will be recorded and analyzed by these fair housing agencies and the state. In addition to landlords and sellers, real estate agents will also be investigated.
The National Association of Realtors has had a fair housing committee as well as a committee on cultural diversity in place for years, according to Toni Connors, president of the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors.