NYC Fair Housing Advocates Score $130K In Damages, Legal Fees From Queens Landlord Accused Of Having Policy Of Stiffing Prospective Black Renters Looking For Available Apartments In Favor Of Whites
In New York City, the Fair Housing Justice Center(1) recently announced:
- On June 27, 2013, Federal District Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf approved a settlement resolving a fair housing lawsuit filed by the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) and three African American testers against the owners and managers of an apartment building located at 41-41 46th Street in Sunnyside, Queens.
The lawsuit, filed in December 2012, alleged that Nasa Real Estate Corporation (“Nasa”) and its agents were discriminating based on race and color in the rental of housing in violation of fair housing laws. The complaint was based on the results of a systemic testing investigation conducted by the FHJC in which matched pairs of African American and white testers inquired about renting apartments at the 107-unit apartment building.
According to the complaint, an agent informed African American testers that no apartments were available, while informing comparably qualified white testers about available apartments and showing them apartments.
The agreement provides a general injunction requiring that Nasa and its employees abide by fair housing laws. One of the defendants, Irfan Bekdemir, who was tested by the FHJC, acknowledged in the agreement that he told African American testers that no apartments were available and did not show them any apartments while informing white testers about available apartments and showing them vacant units.
- [Among other terms], the agreement provides that Nasa will pay a total of $130,000 to the plaintiffs for damages, attorney’s fees, and costs. The plaintiffs were represented by Elizabeth S. Saylor, Diane L. Houk, and Vasudha Talla with the law firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, LLP.
(1) The Fair Housing Justice Center, Inc. (FHJC) is a regional fair housing organization based in New York City. The FHJC provides a full-service fair housing program to New York City and the seven surrounding New York counties of Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester..