In December 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed new Fair Housing rules which were adopted this month and go into effect June 20, 2020.  Under the newly adopted state rule, real estate agents and brokers must notify prospective buyers, sellers, renters and landlords about anti-discrimination laws and prominently display the fair-housing disclosure form in their offices which provides information about how customers can file complaints with the New York State Division of Human Rights. The rules also require groups that provide state-mandated fair-housing training to make audio and video recordings of their classes. The state can impose fines or suspend or revoke licenses of agents or brokers who violate the regulation.

Real estate brokers must make sure all the agents they supervise give a copy of the written fair-housing disclosure form to all prospective customers either personally in hand, or they can provide the notice to customers by email, text or fax. If customers are provided a copy of the disclosure notice in hand, the agents must have customers sign a copy of the form acknowledging they received it. If the notice is given by email, fax or text, or customers refuse to sign acknowledgement of receipt of the notice, agents are required to set forth under oath or affirmation a written declaration of the facts regarding when and how such notice was provided. The agents are required to retain for three years proof that they provided the disclosure notice. Brokers and agents also must post fair-housing notices at each office, at open houses and on their websites. It is significant to note that the disclosure notice required applies to all real property whether or not it is used or occupied, or intended to be used or occupied, wholly or partly, as a home or residence of one or more persons regardless of the number of units, and shall include: condominiums; cooperative apartments; vacant lands, including unimproved real property upon which such dwellings are to be constructed; or commercial properties.

We fully expect this new law to be the basis of an abundance of filings before the NYS Division of Human Rights. Daniels Norelli Cecere & Tavel, PC has successfully handled many proceedings before the Division and is experienced in the requirements and process of defending these administrative proceedings.

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