New Tools for Housing Equality Bill Gives NY Dept. of State Greater Power to Punish Brokers Who Discriminate

On Friday, July 24, New York State passed S6874A/A8903-A, a bill granting the NY Department of State greater authority to punish real estate licensees for violating the state’s Human Rights Law. 

According to the text of the bill, “The department of state may revoke the license of a real estate broker or salesman, or suspend the same for such period as the department may deem proper; or in lieu thereof may impose a fine not exceeding $1,000 dollars payable to the department of state; or a reprimand upon conviction of the licensee of a violation of any provision of this article; or for a material misstatement in the application for such license; or if such licensee has been guilty of fraud or fraudulent practices; or for dishonest or misleading advertising; or has demonstrated untrustworthiness or incompetency to act as a real estate broker or salesman; or for a violation of Article 15 of the executive law committed in his or her capacity as a real estate broker or salesman, as the case may be. 

“In the case of a real estate broker engaged in the business of a tenant relocator, untrustworthiness or incompetency shall include engaging in any course of conduct including, but not limited to, the interruption or discontinuance of essential building service, that interferes with or disturbs the peace, comfort, repose and quiet enjoyment of a tenant.”

Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) President James Whelan issued the following statement on the passing of this legislation:


“All New Yorkers must have equal access and opportunity when searching for housing or commercial real estate. This bill is an important step in fighting discrimination and disparate treatment [that] people of diverse backgrounds may experience because of a small fraction of individuals within the industry who flout the law.”


According to REBNY, S6874A/A8903-A amends Section 441-c of the Real Property Law by giving the New York State Department of State the discretion to fine, suspend or revoke the license of a real estate broker or salesperson who commits a violation of Article 15 of the New York State Executive Law, known as the Human Rights Law, in his or her capacity as a real estate broker or salesperson. The Bill is effective immediately. The Bill can be found by clicking here.

Hannah Fons is Senior Editor of The Cooperator.

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