As I write this article, we are finishing up The New York State Association of REALTORS® Mid-Winter Meetings in Albany. During the meetings, two main hot topics kept coming up, the new tenant rights law and fair housing violations.
I will start with the fair housing violations. As many of you may have heard a local newspaper on Long Island conducted a 3-year undercover investigation into alleged fair housing violations on the Island. This investigation brought to light fair housing violations allegedly committed by fellow members and real estate instructors. During the business meetings, fair housing was brought up many times. During one of the meetings, a fellow member stood up and spoke. “While not defending anybody she stated, instead of focusing all our attention on one particular region, we should be focusing locally and nationally”. After leaving this meeting I started to wonder if this could ever happen in our area? I’m sure it can. I know many of you are saying no you would never commit a violation. But let’s stop and think. During your real estate career, was there ever a moment when you unintentionally gave advice or made a statement that could have been construed as a fair housing violation? I just wanted to remind the members to take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and review the current fair housing laws. When a violation takes place “I did not realize I was violating the law” is not a defense.
The Department of State published new regulatory proposals to try and enhance fair housing in New York State. The proposals are currently in the public comment period. The new proposals will include:
- Requiring brokers to provide a new fair housing disclosure to prospective homebuyers, renters, sellers, and landlords. This disclosure will be provided by the Department of State.
- Require the posting and display of fair housing laws at real estate brokers’ offices, websites, and all open houses.
- Require video and audio recordings of all approved fair housing courses. The recordings must be kept for one year following the course date.
Lastly, the second topic of discussion was the new tenants’ rights laws. As many of you have heard the Department of State has issued guidance for real estate professionals concerning the Statewide Housing Security and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. If you or your brokerage offers assistance with rentals I highly recommend you and your broker review this document. You can find more on the Tenant Protection Act here.