Keller Williams, EXp Realty, Others Sued Over Alleged Discrimination

The brand new lawsuit claims {that a} host of big-name actual property firms, in addition to numerous landlords, refused to just accept Part 8 vouchers for lower-income renters.

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Quite a few main actual property manufacturers together with Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, eXp Realty and others are going through a brand new lawsuit alleging they discriminated in opposition to lower-income renters in New Jersey.

The Housing Rights Initiative (HRI), a housing advocacy and watchdog nonprofit filed the swimsuit Wednesday. The swimsuit claims {that a} group of landlords and actual property brokers refused to lease items to potential tenants in New Jersey who use government-provided Part 8 housing vouchers.

“They did so in violation of state legislation, whilst Jersey Metropolis and Newark face a housing disaster and the continued ravages of the worldwide pandemic,” the criticism reads.

Information of the swimsuit was first reported by the New Jersey Monitor.

The swimsuit finally names as defendants 26 completely different landlords and actual property firms. Effectively-known manufacturers amongst these defendants embrace Keller Williams Realty, eXp Realty, Century 21 Actual Property, Coldwell Banker Realty and RE/MAX.

Inman has reached out to those manufacturers and can replace this story with any commentary they supply.

The criticism explains that the case has its origins in 2017 when the HRI started receiving experiences of discrimination in New Jersey. The group subsequently started doing “civil rights testing,” in response to the criticism, which concerned calling housing suppliers to see in the event that they had been obeying truthful housing legal guidelines.

Many allegedly weren’t.

“In lots of situations, their investigation revealed a coverage or follow of successfully refusing to just accept vouchers, which prompted HRI to take steps to handle such violations of the legislation,” the criticism reads.

It goes on to element a number of events through which an HRI consultant referred to as about leases in Newark and Jersey Metropolis however was informed that the homeowners didn’t settle for Part 8 housing vouchers. The calls reportedly passed off between 2021 and 2023.

The criticism describes the conduct of the landlords and brokers as unlawful discrimination that contributes to “socioeconomic segregation in New Jersey.”

“Defendants’ discriminatory insurance policies lead to a considerable lower within the stock of secure and inexpensive housing obtainable to low-income tenants,” the criticism provides.

The brand new swimsuit — which was filed in New Jersey’s Superior Court docket — comes amid a long-running reckoning in the true property trade with discrimination. Discriminatory practices reminiscent of redlining have plagued the trade for many years, however the subject took on extra urgency after a 2019 investigation uncovered widespread discrimination amongst brokers on Lengthy Island.

Within the time since, a gentle stream of discrimination fits has made headlines. For instance in 2021, a New York legislation agency sued Keller Williams, EXIT Realty and dozens of different companies for alleged rental discrimination. That case was additionally based mostly on an HRI investigation.

And final yr, Redfin settled a case over alleged “digital redlining.”

A lot of trade leaders, together with Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman, have additionally grow to be more and more outspoken about the necessity to fight housing discrimination.

Within the case of the newest lawsuit out of New Jersey, the HRI is asking the court docket to cease the defendants from discriminating in opposition to voucher customers and to award the HRI unspecified financial damages.

Talking to the New Jersey Monitor, HRI government director Aaron Carr stated that the defendants within the case “unequivocally broke the legislation,” and referred to as simply motion “insupportable.”

“We’re attempting,” Carr added, “to get actual property firms to desert their discriminatory practices and to comply with the rattling legislation.”

E mail Jim Dalrymple II

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