NY Goes Undercover to Expose Discrimination

February 18, 2016

The state of New York is launching a program where “testers” will pose as prospective home buyers and renters to weed out housing discrimination offenses from sellers, landlords, and real estate agents, the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced.

The program, called the “Fair Housing Enforcement Program,” sets out to “safeguard the rights” of New Yorkers by using trained fair housing “testers” with “diverse racial, gender, and economic backgrounds, who also represent parents, and persons with disabilities,” according to a release from Cuomo’s office. The testers will be trained to look for discriminatory bias from sellers, landlords, and real estate professionals, and the testers will document and report on how they’re treated.

Cuomo’s office says it will investigate and prosecute any discrimination uncovered.

“The simple, painful truth is that for all our progress in creating a better society, discrimination is still alive and well in America today. We will not stand for it in New York,” Cuomo said. “These actions will hold housing providers accountable – we will not hesitate to crack down on those who break the law. 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.”

For the enforcement program, Cuomo’s office is partnering with three fair housing agencies – Housing Opportunities Made Equal in Buffalo, CNY Fair Housing in Syracuse, and Westchester Residential Opportunities in Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties.

Source: “New York Launches Undercover Program to Expose Discrimination in Real Estate,” HousingWire (Feb. 15, 2016)