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Keller Williams, EXp Realty, Others Sued Over Alleged Discrimination

The brand new lawsuit claims {that a} host of big-name actual property corporations, in addition to varied 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 dealing with a brand new lawsuit alleging they discriminated towards 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 hire models to potential tenants in New Jersey who use government-provided Part 8 housing vouchers.

“They did so in violation of state regulation, at the same time as Jersey Metropolis and Newark face a housing disaster and the continued ravages of the worldwide pandemic,” the grievance reads.

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

The swimsuit in the end names as defendants 26 totally different landlords and actual property corporations. Effectively-known manufacturers amongst these defendants embody 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 grievance explains that the case has its origins in 2017 when the HRI started receiving reviews of discrimination in New Jersey. The group subsequently started doing “civil rights testing,” in response to the grievance, which concerned calling housing suppliers to see in the event that they have been obeying honest housing legal guidelines.

Many allegedly weren’t.

“In lots of cases, their investigation revealed a coverage or follow of successfully refusing to just accept vouchers, which prompted HRI to take steps to deal with such violations of the regulation,” the grievance reads.

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

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

“Defendants’ discriminatory insurance policies end in a considerable lower within the stock of protected and inexpensive housing accessible to low-income tenants,” the grievance provides.

The brand new swimsuit — which was filed in New Jersey’s Superior Courtroom — comes amid a long-running reckoning in the true property trade with discrimination. Discriminatory practices akin to redlining have plagued the trade for many years, however the matter 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 regulation agency sued Keller Williams, EXIT Realty and dozens of different corporations 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.”

Various trade leaders, together with Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman, have additionally turn out 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 courtroom to cease the defendants from discriminating towards voucher customers and to award the HRI unspecified financial damages.

Chatting with the New Jersey Monitor, HRI govt director Aaron Carr mentioned that the defendants within the case “unequivocally broke the regulation,” and known as simply motion “insupportable.”

“We’re attempting,” Carr added, “to get actual property corporations to desert their discriminatory practices and to observe the rattling regulation.”

E mail Jim Dalrymple II