Governor Hochul Signs Bill to Combat Housing Discrimination

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed a sweeping legislative package that included nine different bills to combat housing discrimination. This legislative package addresses many of the issues identified in an expose by Newsday, “Long Island Divided”, which explored discrimination and both explicit and implicit bias that exists in the real estate industry. The package included a bill (S.2157-A/A.6355) sponsored by Senator Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown), which requires associate real estate brokers who serve as office mangers to supervise other real estate professionals in their office.

Office managers must have been active in the real estate industry two of the four years before beginning duties as office manager. Real estate brokers are responsible for maintaining and supervising their place of business, unlike associate brokers who have the same licensing but have chosen to work under the supervision of another broker. This legislation clarifies the required level of supervision and strengthens existing Department of State regulations. In addition, the legislation specifies the length of time an associate broker is required to work prior to becoming an office manager and will therefore ensure offices are appropriately supervised by experienced real estate professionals.

Senator Kevin Thomas said, “Fair housing is a right shared by all New Yorkers. What Newsday uncovered in their 2019 investigation was eye-opening, tangible evidence of unequal treatment, steering, and bias directed at minority homebuyers and minority communities on Long Island. In response, I introduced new legislation that will provide much-needed oversight and accountability measures for real estate brokers, as well as increased penalties for violations of fair housing and human rights laws. I thank Governor Hochul for signing this important measure into law and sending the message loud and clear: Discrimination has no place in our communities.”


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