NY State’s New Fair Housing Regulations Now in Effect

Real Estate In-Depth | June 2020

ALBANY—The New York State Department of State announced that the new regulations for real estate professionals to help combat housing discrimination took effect on June 20, 2020.

The new regulations, which the New York State Real Estate Board approved in December 2019, mandate enhanced disclosures by real estate professionals to help ensure prospective home buyers, renters, sellers and landlords receive ample information about their rights and protections under New York State law.

“Housing discrimination is against the law and will not be tolerated in New York State. The Department of State works hard to enforce the Fair Housing Act as it relates to real estate professionals,” said Secretary of State Rosado. “These new regulations will help to combat discriminatory actions and ensure New Yorkers understand their rights when looking to buy, rent or sell their home.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo directed the Department of State, in consultation with the Division of Human Rights, to issue new regulations as one of several steps to combat housing discrimination in response to a published report in Newsday on housing discrimination on Long Island.

The new fair housing regulations require the following:

Notification of Fair Housing laws—Real estate brokers will be responsible for ensuring that each licensed professional working under their supervision provides a disclosure on fair housing and the New York State Human Rights Law to prospective home buyers, renters, sellers, and landlords. The disclosure, to be furnished by the Department of State, must be given to the prospective party via e-mail, text, facsimile, hardcopy, or other electronic messaging service. The disclosure must also be available at every open house or real estate showing conducted by a real estate professional.

Posting of Fair Housing laws—Real estate brokers must display and maintain at every office and branch a notice highlighting the Human Rights Law’s protections regarding housing accommodations and how consumers can file complaints. The notice must be visible from the sidewalk or another conspicuous place. The notice must also be prominently displayed on all websites created and maintained by real estate brokers, real estate salespersons and real estate teams. This notice must also be posted at every open house conducted by a real estate professional.

Video recording and record preservation—Every entity approved to provide instruction pertaining to fair housing and/or discrimination in the sale or rental of real property or an interest in real property, must record video and audio of the instruction for every course in its entirety. The approved entity is required to keep the recording for one year following the date the course was delivered.

New York State Division of Human Rights Interim Commissioner, Johnathan J. Smith, said, “Recent events have made painfully clear the ugly role that racism continues to play in all aspects of American society. DHR will continue to partner with the Department of State to enforce these important regulations and ensure every New Yorker has the right to safe, accessible, and fair housing.”

In addition to the new fair housing regulations, the Department of State also announced new advertising regulations aimed at providing clearer disclosures for internet advertising that will take effect on Nov. 2, 2020. These regulations will require brokers using lead generation programs such as Zillow, StreetEasy, Trulia, and others to ensure that the listing agent is clearly disclosed and that the buyer’s broker includes the word “advertisement” in the advertising.

It also requires that these disclosures are also posted on Thumbnail views when the public searches for a property on Zillow or even a broker’s page. This new rule aims to inform the clients about the listing broker’s name on properties shown on the search results.

Both the fair housing and advertising regulations were published in the New York State Register on May 6, 2020. The guidance documents are available on the Department of State website at: https://www.dos.ny.gov/licensing/docs/Guidance%20for%20License%20Holders%20-%20Fair%20Housing%20-FINAL.pdf